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09 July 2021 | in Winter FISU World University Games

The Road to Lucerne 2021: Insight from the Swiss Head of Delegation

Christoph Böcklin, credit: Swiss University SportsWith Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade just over five months away, preparations from all sides are well under way. And following the virtual Head of Delegation (HoD) meeting in late June, FISU media reached out to a Head of Delegation to have a better understanding of what their role is and what they are currently focusing on.


Christoph Böcklin, Vice President of Swiss University Sports and Head of the Swiss Delegation for the Winter Universiade, was happy to share with us his insight, having already had previous experience in such a role.


Mr Böcklin is responsible for making sure that his Swiss team has a smooth experience during the winter Universiade. The tasks demanded from an HoD are varied and range from logistics to clothing and equipment as well as general management and team spirit. “I try to create the best setup possible so that the athletes are in an environment where they can give their best performance possible,” Mr Böcklin says.


“What really motivates me to take on this role is the team spirit and the atmosphere that you feel during the FISU Games,” the Vice President of the Swiss NUSF adds. “It’s not a paid job, I do this on my free time and it’s usually very busy and intense, but it’s a unique experience that you can find nowhere else. That feeling of sitting together in the dining hall after a long day is a priceless moment that you can only experience at such events.”


When questioned about the challenges coming his way, Mr Böcklin points out the difficulty surrounding the dislocation of the venues and the fact that it will be a tricky task to organise logistics between all the different venues as well as maintain a cohesion within the team.


“The point that stuck out the most from the HoD virtual meeting was the location of the venues,” says the Head of the Swiss Delegation. “It won’t be like previous Universiades where you had a main village and everyone from the team gathered there. During the Lucerne 2021 Universiade the teams will be split up in clusters. This is a challenge in itself, and we need to not only plan the logistics properly – such as medical support and media coverage –, but we also need to find a way to maintain some kind of Universiade team spirit despite the fact that everyone will be separated. It’s about giving the teams the feeling that they are not just in some regular tournament, but at a FISU Universiade!”

Photo courtesy of the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade and Swiss University Sports

Lucerne is not just any city for Mr Böcklin, it is a place that remains dear to him: “It will be a very special Universiade because I grew up in Lucerne and it still has a place in my heart. The moment I look forward to the most is the moment when we arrive at the opening ceremony with my team. That will be a very special moment for me.”


The selection process for the Swiss team already started about a month ago. And the first names have already started coming in. “We don’t usually start this early, but the timing with Lucerne 2021 made it possible,” the HoD says. “It’s always a nice moment because you feel like things are getting concrete. You have the first names who you know will participate and it’s always a nice and exciting moment. It’s the start of the final countdown!”


The delegation has one person per sport who is responsible for scouting, and they work closely with the Swiss National University Sports Federation (NUSF), former student athletes still active in the sport and sport associations. “In Switzerland most athletes participate in clubs,” Mr Böcklin explains, “and sport at university isn’t the environment where there is a high level of competition, so it is also important to involve sport federations in our recruitment process.”


On a final note, the Head of the Swiss Delegation and Vice President of Swiss University Sports expressed his gratitude to the organisers who have worked hard on making this event come true despite the current worldwide pandemic: “Before I leave, I would like to thank the organising committee in Lucerne and FISU for their hard work in coping with the exceptional situation that we are in, and for trying to make the best out of this situation. Joining the HoD meeting at the end of June was a pleasant experience because we can see that things are coming through nicely.”


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