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29 January 2021 | in Summer FISU World University Games

Spotlight: Remembering the Shenzhen 2011 Summer Universiade

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Shenzhen, China held off some stiff competition to win the rights to host Summer Universiade 2011, which went on to become a record-breaking event in World University Games history.

 

Shenzhen came out ahead in a heated race for the hosting rights for the 26th Summer Universiade over four other cities – Kazan, Russia; Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei; Murcia, Spain; and Poznan, Poland. Shenzhen became the third Chinese city to organise the Universiade after Beijing in 2001 and Harbin in 2009.

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Shenzhen was not exactly the pre-bid favourite to capture 2011 because China had already been awarded the 2009 Winter Universiade in Harbin, the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2010 Asian Games in Hangzhou, not to mention that the city was only 30 years old and did not have experience in hosting a major sporting competition.

 

web sh2011 1But by the Closing Ceremony on 23 August after 11 days of competition, Shenzhen had blown everyone away – including FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien, who described the Shenzhen Universiade as the best ever.

 

“I want to extend our warmest thanks to our Chinese hosts for the huge work they’ve done during the Games,” Gallien said. “It’s a tradition to say that the present Universiade is the best ever, but this time it’s true.

 

Shenzhen had a Games record 10,624 athletes and officials from 151 countries take part. The previous high was in 2007 in Bangkok, where 9,027 participated. The 24 disciplines in Shenzhen was also a new Universiade mark, comfortably topping the 15 at the three preceding events.

 

 

 

China, as expected, smashed the field by winning 75 gold medals, almost twice as many as runner-up Russia. The Shenzhen Universiade also had unprecedented television coverage with 20 of the 24 sports being broadcast to more than 70 countries.

web sh2011 decathlonThe decathlete pose after their group victory lap following the 1500m event, the final of ten competitions that took place over two days at the Shenzhen 2011 Summer Universiade

“The sports program of these Games was very ambitions,” Gallien said. “It was the first time we had 24 sports, 10 compulsory and 14 invited. This was also the first time that the number of participants passed the 10,000 mark. There were 1,597 more participants here than there were at the previous largest Games at Bangkok in 2007.

 

“It is worth mentioning that the city of Shenzhen has made a huge investment to reach such a level of excellence.”

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