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22 July 2020 | in NUSF News, FISU Student Ambassadors

Slovak universities support elite athletes in their academics

University sport in Slovakia has a tradition of more than 100 years, 101 years to be precise! To look back on its long history and also discuss future plans, FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy 2020 participant Michal Čmelík interviewed the President of the Slovak Association of University Sport (SAUS), Mr. Július Dubovský.


Slovakia 1SAUS is an active member of FISU. The Slovak Republic has hosted one of FISU’s biggest events – the Winter Universiade – three times; in 1987 at Štrbské Pleso, 1999 in Poprad – Vysoké Tatry, and in 2015 at Štrbské Pleso – Orblie.


The 2015 edition was unique in the way that for the first time in history, the major FISU event had two host states, as the Slovak cities joined the Spanish city of Granada.


The beginning of organised university sport in Slovakia is connected with the foundation of Comenius University in Bratislava in 1919.


“The initiative for the establishment of sport on the academic field came from teachers and students of the Faculty of Medicine and their natural need for a healthy and harmonic way of life,” says Dubovský. The Slovak Association of University Sport started operating in its current shape in 1993.

There are more than 20 public universities in Slovakia. Dubovský points out that SAUS cooperates with each of them.


Slovakia 4Slovak sprinter Ján Volko“Many of them educate elite athletes on a professional level,” he says. “For example, I could mention the University of Matej Bela in Banská Bystrica, which was the home university for our successful biathlete Paulina Fialková, skier Adam Žampa and also London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist and member of the International Olympic Committee, shooter Danka Barteková."


"Comenius University has a great hockey team and our successful sprinter Ján Volko is student of Slovak Technical University.”


Dubovský continues to talk about more Slovak stars who are, or have been, student-athletes. “We have powerful athletes, including Ján Volko, a high-quality hockey team that won the silver medal at the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade and excellent shooters such as Patrik Jány or Filip Marinov.”


The achievements of all these student-athletes and many others, is a success story but the SAUS President says that at the beginning of the 21st century the organisation faced a general lack of interest in sport at university, a lack of sport facilities and also interaction with students.


“The situation is gradually changing. Fortunately, people have realized the importance of a healthy lifestyle,” he says. “We are promoting our activities through our Facebook page and our official website – www.saus.sk”.


Slovakia 2President of the Slovak Association of University Sport (SAUS) Július Dubovský (right) with FISU President Oleg MatytsinIn 2019, SAUS celebrated 100 years of academic sport in Slovakia. Dubovský reveals what the anniversary celebrations looked like.


“We published an interesting book that maps the 100 years of Academic Sport in Slovakia, and we organised a series of sports competitions on this occasion, all over Slovakia. The main event of our 100-year milestone was a gala evening with attendance of the FISU President Oleg Matytsin, who was a special guest that night.”




By: Michal Čmelík