The 2021 World University Games, which were to commence on August 18 this year in the Chinese city of Chengdu, have been moved to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The postponement comes after the Asian Beach Games, scheduled to start on Friday in another Chinese city, Sanya, were postponed indefinitely for a second time in December last year.
Top athlete Dutee Chand had become the first Indian woman sprinter to win gold at the 2019 edition of the World Universiade held in Naples, when she clinched the 100m title. Rifle shooter Elavenil Valarivan too had won silver in the 2019 edition. During the 2011 World University Games in China, India’s Harveen Srao had won gold in women’s 10 metre air pistol.
The International University Sports Federation (FISU) took the decision “to protect the safety and health of all people involved including athletes and the citizens”.
FISU took note of the fact that thousands of students had been unable to train due to extended closure of sports facilities in their respective universities and campuses.
The international body also felt that the situation would improve by 2022 for the organisers to deliver on their promise of a spectacular event and would also see the participation of a considerably large number of athletes.
This is the third time the event — originally scheduled for August 8-19 and then August 16-27, 2021 — has been postponed.
China has hosted two more editions of the multi-discipline event — the 2001 event at Beijing and the 2011 in in Shenzhen. The postponement, though, has given rise to a unique scenario whereby the event will take place in consecutive years for the first time. The 2022 Chengdu games will be followed by the 2023 Summer Universiade in the Russian city Yekaterinburg.