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26 March 2021 | in Summer FISU World University Games

Spotlight: Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade

Italy is no stranger to hosting university sports events, but 2019 was a remarkable year for both for the nation and for FISU. Not only did Italy host the 30th Summer Universiade, but these Games marked 60 years since the inaugural Universiade—first held in the city of Torino, Italy.


SSC Napoli’s home ground, Stadio San Paolo, was the site of the opening ceremony where legends of music and sport both took centre stage. It was Andre Bocelli’s angelic voice that captivated the audience and Italian footballer Lorenzo Insigne had the crowd on their feet as he literally kicked things off, lighting the cauldron to indicate the start of the Games.


For beachgoers and summer sports fanatics alike, Napoli quite literally brought the heat—selling over 300,000 tickets for 12 days of action, watching 6,000 athletes compete in 18 different sports. The official slogan for the Games was #ToBeUnique—a term that lived up to its expectation, especially after seeing 24 Universiade records broken on Italian soil. Being unique would turn out to be an understatement, as this was the first Universiade to host athletes on a ‘floating’ athletes’ village—comprised of two all inclusive cruise ships docked for the whole two weeks. Each cruise ship was equipped with furnished rooms, a full dining hall, exercise facilities and an experience of a lifetime for athletes staying on board.


It was Japan, the Russian Federation, USA and the Republic of Korea who took top honours in the medal count, but the home team clinched the fifth spot overall thanks to 13 fencing medals and the gold in men’s water polo all produced by the Italians.  


As the Games came to a close, Stadio San Paolo was where the world would say goodbye to Napoli at the closing ceremony—giving the 35,000 spectators an unforgettable electric atmosphere, only to see the flag passed to the next host city. All eyes would be on southwestern China’s Sichuan Province in the city of Chengdu for 2021—home to panda bears, fantastic cuisine and hosts of the 31st FISU World University Games.