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17 June 2019 | in Summer FISU World University Games, NUSF News

CUSI: 70 years of experience and eyes on the future

The first edition of the Summer Universiade in Torino in 1959In just over two weeks from now, a memorable edition of the Summer Universiade will get underway in the colourful city of Napoli. It will mark a symbolic return to Italy, the setting for the very first Universiade that was held in Turin in 1959.


Italy has been at the heart of the global university sport movement almost since its inception. Ever since 1946, the Centro Universitario Sportivo Italiano (CUSI) has been actively promoting university sport and Napoli 2019 gives it an opportunity to showcase this expertise once again.


FISU Student Ambassador Andrea Ippolito met CUSI President Lorenzo Lentini to talk about the long road travelled by the organisation, that has now brought it to the doorstep of the Summer Universiade 2019.


“CUSI has a long history that seems like a tale,” said Lentini. “Not only chronologically, but also in terms of the set of events that led to the building of a strong and modern democracy in our country.”


In 1946, Italy had emerged from a terrible war, Lentini told Ippolito. It was time for the country to be rebuilt.


“The spirit of rebirth spread through the entire country, with newfound freedom. The same ethos was needed in sport and culture, and all the Italian Universities became a vigorous driving force.”


“On 22 March 1946, CUSI and Italian universities began a long walk together,” he explained. “It was the beginning of our organisation.”


The first CUSI President was Renzo Nostini, followed by Alberto Pettinella. “The figures that most influenced our path were Ignazio Lojacono, who remained in office for just under forty years and Leonardo Coiana, whom I had the honour of succeeding,” said Lentini.


Today, CUSI is a dynamic, modern network of over 650 sports facilities and sports executives serving the country. It has come a long way since its origins and Lentini believes that the Summer Universiade returning to Italy, is a great, symbolic moment.


“Personally, I enthusiastically went about trying to achieve this ambitious goal (hosting the Universiade in Napoli),” Ippolito was told. “This occasion will also celebrate the great intuition of Primo Nebiolo – not only the ‘founder’ of the Universiade, but one of the greatest sports managers that our country has ever had.”


CUSI staff and officials have been on board with the Napoli 2019 Organising Committee from the first day, or even before as they were closely aligned throughout all the phases of the candidacy  and bid process that preceded the attribution.


Lentini believes that the experience of CUSI and also that of FISU will culminate in a great moment of sport and culture, in Napoli from 3-14 July.


“University sport is a project in continuous movement,” he continued. “I firmly believe that there is no disease worse than stagnation. Our mission is to operate in a constantly moving, constantly evolving context.


“The world of sport, globally and in our country, is rapidly changing. We are ready to contribute and work with the new Government and with Italian sport in the future course of this movement.”