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08 January 2021 | in Summer FISU World University Games

Spotlight: Remembering the Bangkok 2007 Summer Universiade

1024px AnnabessonovaThailand’s first crack at hosting a Universiade was expertly handled by Bangkok, which held the bulk of the Games on the campus of Thammasat University, a fitting location for student-athletes.

 

The university hosted the athletics, badminton, basketball, diving, judo, swimming, taekwondo and volleyball events, in addition to the Athletes’ Village, allowing for great bonhomie among the students, athletes and non-athletes alike. It also served to significantly reduce any traffic-related problems that are unfortunately inevitable with major multi-sports events.

 

But with two sports (judo and table tennis) joining the list of compulsory sports (now numbering 12) and the organising committee also proposing five optional sports (sport shooting, golf, taekwondo, softball and badminton), it was still a massive undertaking that spread across the Thai capital. In total, 6,093 athletes from 151 countries competed at 36 venues and 43 practice sites in Bangkok.

280617 torchbangkok1Taipei paid homage to the Bangkok's hosting of the 24th edition of the Summer Universiade with the Taipei Universiade relay making it's way to the capital city of Thailand before the start of the domestic relay in the summer of 2017

The Summer Universiade was organised as part of celebrations commemorating the 80th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who at the time was among the longest reigning sovereigns in the world, and as a result, Bangkok 2007 was a particularly grand affair.

 

080709 Bessonova1The undisputed queen of these Games was Ukrainian rhythmic gymnast Anna Bessonova, who won five individual gold medals and another with her team. It was her third appearance at a Universiade after Daegu 2003 and Izmir 2005 and she would go on to become the most decorated athlete in Universiade history at her fourth and final World University Games in 2009 in Belgrade.

 

The fair play award went to the Italian men’s football team for its exemplary behaviour after discovering that their jerseys had been stolen ahead of the final against Ukraine. With their spare jerseys back at the Athletes’ Village, the Italians could have refused to play until they arrived.

 

Instead, the team agreed to play in their practise jerseys, which had no numbers on them, so that the timing of the match would be respected. Organisers took the practice jerseys to a boutique inside the stadium to have numbers quickly applied, which took just 30 minutes. Unfortunately for the Azzurri, they would lose the match 1-0 and have to settle for their third straight Universiade football silver medal.

 

Bangkok 2007 will also be remembered as the location where FISU President George E. Killian was re-elected for a second full term at the 30th FISU General Assembly ahead of the 24th Universiade. In addition, Bhutan, Montenegro, the Netherlands Antilles were welcomed as new FISU Member Associations, bringing the total to 144.

bangkok2007 letterThe Thai postal service continued the tradition of Universiade host nations supporting the Games with commemorative stamps, postcards and postmarks from the event.