FISU President Reflects
7/12/2013(ATR) International University Sports Federation President Claude-Louis Gallien tells Around the Rings he is pleased with the results of the first week of the Summer Universiade 2013.
Source: Around the rings
Source: Around the rings
The Games, he says, will leave a positive lasting legacy for the Russian host city of Kazan.
“In six years, Kazan is not the same city – it is totally changed,” Gallien said in an interview with ATR on Friday. “Most of the venues are new and what I see is that these venues are at the highest technical level. I think that the quality of the Games has been very high.
“Since Kazan has economical vision, there is a new airport and a new hospital here and for us we want to improve health – we are very careful about our legacy. I believe the heritage from these Games will be very positive for Kazan and for us it is also our goal.”
The 27th Summer Universiade is taking place in Kazan from July 6-17. Approximately 11,000 student athletes from 162 countries are competing in a record 27 sports.
The Universiade is an international multi-sport competition, organized for university athletes by FISU. The name combines the words “University” and “Olympiad.” The Games, which were first contested in Turin, Italy in 1959, can also be referred to as the World University Games or World Student Games.
FISU is the second largest multi-sport organization in the world next to the IOC.
“We are obviously not competitors [with the IOC], but maybe we can be complimentary,” Gallien said. “We can be the step between the Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic Games. For athletes we provide the possibility of being in a very high level multi-sport competition. For some athletes and also cities who may not want to host an Olympic Games, we can be an alternative.”
The International University Sports Federation was formed in 1949. The origin of the organization dates back to the first World Student Games, which were held in Paris in 1923. The founder and organizer of these Games was French educator and scholar Jean Petitjean, who was a companion of Pierre de Coubertin.
“Since I am very close to the Olympic spirit, I like to say that they had Coubertin and we have Jean Petitjean,” said Gallien, who has also served as a Vice-President for the French National Olympic Committee since 1998. “It is now 90 years since Petitjean founded the first International University Games, so I think this is a good anniversary.”
“We are university sport and we feel very near to Olympism,” said Gallien, who became President of FISU in August of 2011, following the previous Summer Universiade in Shenzen, China. “We stick to the first idea of Coubertin that sport is part of education, and for us business is not so important.
“We want to offer education, health, sustainability and we want to teach young people to become citizens and in the development of Russia, this is something that they also want,” Gallien said.
The Kazan 2013 Games also mark the first time in the history of the Summer Universiade that a torch relay was staged.
Twenty-thousand volunteers are contributing to Kazan 2013, many of which will also serve at the Sochi Olympics next February.
Regarding other aspects of the first week of the Games, Gallien advised that the student athletes have been very satisfied with their accommodations at the Athletes Village, and transportation around the city has been working well. He said that security procedures around venues have been very strict, and for some athletes it is taking some time to get accustomed to.