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14 January 2022 | in FISU

Resilience, dedication and forward thinking kept university sport strong in 2021

With another year in the books for university sport worldwide, 2021 was a year full of innovation, unity and resilience for all. Before we head into 2022 and all it has to offer, lets highlight some of the key moments that the University Sport Movement had to offer in 2021.


Record numbers for the International Day of University Sport (IDUS)


Proclaimed by UNESCO, the sixth edition of IDUS held in 2021 saw 121 countries celebrate, each in their own style, activities, and themes. Some regions around the world were able to hold physical events, while others celebrate and shared their passion during online virtual events. Across the world, 842 sports, educational and virtual activities were held in celebration of this special day in 2021.


For the occasion, FISU held a photo contest, asking participants to show their most colourful IDUS celebrations with the theme of #ColourIDUS2021. The contest saw over 150 entries from 50 different countries, and reached over 70,000 people around the globe. Preparations for the 2022 edition of IDUS is already underway, make sure to stay tuned!



Successful 2021 FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy (FVLA) 

With yet another year of the FVLA held in a virtual format, university sport leaders came together once again hearing from experts and educators in June and September—held in two separate sessions. The online event saw over 120 participants attend to hear from FISU staff, FISU Student Committee, current student ambassadors and even a dedicated yoga instructor who led sessions on site. Event management, leadership skills and project development were some of the topics discussed. FVLA is expected to include some great topics and speakers in the new year, so stay tuned for more information about the 2022 edition!


FISU Healthy Campus hot topic of discussion in 2021

Today, the FISU Healthy Campus programme welcomes over 80 universities officially enrolled from all over the globe. Not only did universities commit to joining in the global movement of creating healthy communities and well-being on campus in 2021, but the programme itself is making waves and gaining recognition around the world. While memorandums of understanding (MoU) were signed between NUSFs, FISU also signed MoUs with NUSFs and other organisations. In addition, the Healthy Campus programme was a topic of discussion at the European Week for Regions and Cities—an initiative administered by the European Commission. FISU joined speakers from UEFA, the European Parliament, and officials from various countries to discuss the topic about a post-pandemic recovery strategy, where universities played a big role and continue to do so.



Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games confirmed for June 2022

Originally scheduled to be held in the summer of 2021, the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games was postponed to 26 June - 7 July, following a joint decision by FISU and the Executive Committee of the Chengdu 2021 FISU Games, due to the Covid-19 situation. This decision came as the global pandemic had already heavily impacted large-scale multisport events and was in the best interest of student-athletes, delegation officials and all others involved.


Despite the postponement, the Organising Committee has been hard at work, promoting the FISU Games through the unveiling of the FISU Games Torch, hosting of a music gala and even hosting an international social media campaign called the #Usportchallenge—a contest designed to encourage sport participation around the world by receiving submissions of people playing sport through creative videos. Leading up to the FISU Games in 2022, organisers are set to continue promotion of the event in creative ways and are dedicated to putting on a spectacular event.



FISU in joint cooperation for esports research

Exploring the opportunities that esports brings to university sport, 2021 saw FISU join the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) to research the topic in depth. Researchers will address key points with an emphasis of existing esports programmes within university sports communities and the impacts it has on students.  Findings will be delivered to FISU by the end of 2022, where the findings will then be addressed and determining the place that esports has, if any, within the FISU and university sport ecosystem. 


Strong legacies left behind from the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade conception and preparation

Due to the rise of another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made to keep all those involved in the event safe and cancel the event. Although this was the case, the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade saw a well-prepared water relay (winter version of the FISU Games Flame Relay), venue preparation and a student legacy initiative launched from the preparations of the FISU Games. The legacy programme supported by FISU, also called the Lucerne 2021 Haskins Innovation Challenge, was designed by students, for students. It was an initiative developed for Swiss university students to create smart ideas on innovative and sustainable sports events, thus guaranteeing positive sport legacies for regions and their populations. The video below illustrates the initiative, hosted by Think Sport, that included a variety of speakers and presentations.  FISU appreciates the efforts made by the organisers and thanks them for their hard work and dedication in preparation for the 30th Winter Universiade.




Double attribution for 2025 FISU Games made, while strong candidates for 2027 and 2029 FISU Games bids on the horizon


The year 2025 will start in Turin (ITA), who will host the winter edition of the FISU World University Games. With a strong bid from the start that came with backing from local authorities, Turin was the birthplace of the FISU Games in the form of the Turin 1959 Summer Universiade—making this a very special place for FISU to return.


After these FISU Games, all eyes will be on Germany—in particular the Rhine-Ruhr Region for the summer edition of the 2025 FISU World University Games. With a strong bid from the start, major outcomes of this edition will have a strong focus on sustainability and long-term development of the region for future generations.


While still in the early stages of preparations for 2025, bids from potential hosts for the 2027 and 2029 FISU World University Games have emerged, with interest from the United States of America (USA) and the Republic of Korea (KOR). Both countries are no stranger to hosting the FISU World University Games, who will have each hosted three editions of the FISU Games by the time the 31st winter edition of the FISU World University Games takes place in Lake Placid in 2023.


“It is very encouraging to see such a strong interest to host the future editions of the FISU World University Games in 2027 and 2029, despite the current pandemic situation,” said FISU Secretary General-CEO Eric Saintrond. “In this time of great uncertainty surrounding the feasibility of major international sports events, receiving two strong bids the same day that FISU opened its bidding process is a positive sign of things to come, not only for FISU but also for the world of international sports. This demonstrates that our events have great value for the cities who organise them, and shows that sport is considered an important aspect of our global community, even in the midst of a pandemic.”


With many more moments within university sport to thank for a successful year despite challenges, it is key moments like these the define the resilience and unity that university sport brings. As 2021 serves as a sign of hope for the future, FISU looks forward to all that 2022 has to offer, with numerous events and initiatives already planned for a successful and prosperous year ahead.


s janmohamed byline