The three finalists and primary candidates for the 2019 World University Games made their initial formal presentations to the Federation International du Sport Universitaire, or FISU, in Belgium earlier this week. Present at the meeting representing the organizers of the biannual event were president Claude-Louis Gallien, and a pair of FISU Vice Presidents.
The three finalists for the 2019 Summer Games are Baku, Azerbaijan; Budapest, Hungary; and Brasilia, Brazil. Two of the three cities, with the exception of Budapest, are not on the typical trail of the world’s international sporting community, but all three are sinking huge investments into getting there, and the World University Games have historically been a jumping-off point for countries to move on to bigger and better competitions.
Baku will be hosting the inaugural edition of the European Games in 2015, a sort of mini-Olympics specifically for European nations. They view their relative inexperience as a positive for their bid.
Tofig Khanaliyev, the President of the NUSF of Azerbaijan, said that “The city of Baku has never organised such a big event. Therefore, the organisation of the Summer Universiade would allow to promote sport in Azerbaijan and improve sports facilities in a city where the youth has an increasing importance.”
Baku is a city of about 2.1 million citizens on the Caspian Sea, and is rich with both centuries of history and an influx of big oil money as the biggest port on the Caspian.
Budapest, Hungary has taken a prominent roll in the aquatics community, at least, of late. They hosted the 2006 and 2010 European Aquatics Championships and in 2021 they will host the FINA World Aquatics Championships.
“Hungary has always been involved in university sport. In 2017 the city of Györ will host the Olympic Youth Festival and in 2021 Budapest will be the host of the FINA World Championships. We would like to organise the Universiade between those two events in order to make the best of the media coverage of the Universiade”, said Dr. Zoltan Mauzsa, the Deputy Secretary of State for Higher Education and Science, declared.
Budapest has hosted four previous editions of either this event or its predecessors: the International University Games in 1935, the World Student Games in 1949 and 1954, and the 1965 Summer World University Games. It is in a bit of a population decline, but still has 1.7 million people with a huge 3.3 million strong metropolitan area.
As for Brasilia, while it is a very large city of 2.5 million citizens (3.7 million in the metro), it is strangely limited as a sports hub in Brazil. It is home to Brazil’s top basketball team, but despite having a 77,000 seat soccer stadium can’t even field a Series A or B soccer team. Brasilia will, however, be one of the host sites for the 2014 men’s World Cup that will be centered around Rio.
What it lacks in general sporting prominence it makes up for in architectural magnificence. The whole city is recognized by UNESCO for its architecture.
“Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 as well as the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. Therefore, we consider that 2019 will be the right time to organise the Summer Universiade in Brasilia”, Julio Cesar Ribeiro, the Secretary for Sport of Brazil, explained. This bid should have the full backing of all of Brazil, it seems, a country that hosted the 3rd summer World University Games in 1963, two years before Budapest’s last hosting.
Now, visits will take place to those three cities between September 16th and October 20th, with final presentations to be made on November 9th, 2013.
The lone bidder for the 2019 Winter Universiade is the Krasnoyarsk Region in Russia: one of the largest populations centers in the frigid Siberian region.
The recent schedule of hosts:
|Year||Games Number||Summer host||Games Number||Winter Host|
|2013||XXVII||Kazan, Russia||XXVI||Trentino, Italy
|2015||XXVIII||Gwangju, South Korea||XXVII||Granada, Spain|