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29 November 2018 | in Summer World University Games

Napoli organisers showcase venues and accommodations of Summer Universiade 2019

 While noting some work still remains, the overall impressions are positive from sports leaders attending the preliminary Head of Delegation visit to the upcoming Summer Universiade host city


NAPOLI — Along Italy’s southern shores, university competition and a city’s sporting roots are coming together during the operational readiness phase for the 30th Summer Universiade. Just in time, too, as there are just over 200 days to go before athletes arrive in this historic city.


With a look to this summer and get a measure of understanding regarding the quality of work underway, sports leaders from China, France, Great Britain and Lithuania were in the Campania regional capital city for three days of venue visits and question-and-answer sessions with the local organising committee and FISU’s Summer Universiade staff.


Great Britain university sports leader Stew Fowlie immediately felt the renowned Neapolitan passion for sports.


“There’s just a real excitement and buzz across this whole region about having the event here,” Fowlie said. “Sport is part of the culture here. Some people may comment about the venues, but sport runs in the blood of the locals here. That’s why I see this Universiade being a success.


“The hospitality here is so good,” added Fowlie. “Visitors will have to prepare themselves to eat a lot of good food, too.”

Napoli by night. Italy's third largest city and capital of the Campania region is set to host Summer Universiade 2019 from the 3-14 July

 Much talked about is the largest of the three Universiade Villages, which will sail into Napoli’s downtown deep-water port just before the big event. Two luxury cruise liners will house 4,000 athletes in Stazione Marittima as it is the first time a major multi-sport event will rely on such a setup to house athletes and officials.


Indre Celkiene of Lithuania saw this as a classic example of Neapolitan problem solving; finding an ingenious and sustainable solution to an issue.


“It’s really good idea, for most of us may be first time and maybe also the last time to experience this kind of village,” Celkiene said. “I’m excited to come and see this in July, even not having seen the cruise ships, the idea is tinkling in my mind. I can’t wait for it.”


Closely bound to the Olympic Movement’s vision of “Building a better world through sport”, Fowlie noted the merit in this innovative accommodation plan. “It can be a blueprint concept for next events, opening up a whole new possibility for hosting cities. I can’t wait to see the medal winners being invited for dinner at the captain’s table.”


The Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade marks an era in international university sport, as it will be 60 years since the Italian city of Torino hosted the first Universiade in 1959. From Torino to Napoli, Italy will have hosted 10 Universiades, with five editions coming in each of the summer winter events.

The preliminary Head of Delegation meetings in Napoli focused on giving the national sport leaders in attendance a real feel for the Universiade by focusing the event on the athlete experience

Among the five sports venues visited by the delegates, perhaps none will play a more pivotal role than Stadio San Paolo. The former 1990 FIFA World Cup venue and home to Napoli’s Serie A football club S.S.C. Napoli, is undergoing a 23 million euro renovation to modernise the 70 year old stadium as it will host the Summer Universiade’s opening and closing ceremonies, and the athletics competitions. During the visit, the delegates noted how a Universiade has the power to significantly change a community, its image and its infrastructure.


The delegates also visited the Scandone pool, the Palabarbuto, and the two venues that will host competitions at the Mostra d'Oltremare, the pavilion of the judo and the pool for diving. In addition to the Stazione Marittima where the cruiseliners will be anchored, delegates also inspected the other athlete’s accommodation areas, on the university campuses of Fisciano and Pozzuoli, and the hotel village clusters in the cities of Salerno, Caserta and Napoli.

"Its such a rewarding moment to attend a Universiade and meet all the other hard workers from other degations," said Great Britain's Stew Fowlie. "We share the same passion and understand the effort put in to enable student-athletes to compete here."
Chinese delegate Wei Sun remarked how this Universiade could be a springboard for tourism, especially in her home country.


“It’s a very old city with many historical monuments, I was very impressed,” Sun said to local media outlet ANSA. “There are more and more Chinese people who come to Europe on holiday and Napoli is very beautiful. If tourists know that there will be the Universiade, the city will be known more and more and the tourists will be very attracted to the idea of ​​coming here.”


FISU Summer Universiade Director Marc Vandenplas said the general tone of feedback from the delegates was positive.


“The overall impression was good, but there are some small perplexities about housing, and the distances between some hotels and facilities. But, eventually, there will be capacity. Napoli will host a good edition of the Universiade, but we also know that the local organising committee should not miss one minute of time.”


Contributing: Brian Carrer