FISU, the governing body for global university sport including the World University Games, announced on Friday that the 2021 World University Games (summer edition) in Chengdu, China will be postponed until 2022.
The organization cited the “global COVID-19 situation” and “international travel restrictions at present.”
No specific makeup dates were announced, and FISU says that they will be agreed to by the relevant bodies.
Much as we saw with the “Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” the name “Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games” will still reference the original date, even though the event will be held in 2022.
This is the 2nd time that the Chengdu 2021 event has been rescheduled, though the previous move was more subtle: the event was delayed by two days to avoid conflict with the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
FISU has previously postponed the Winter Games, which were scheduled for January of this year.
The World University Games are a massive multi-sport event with both summer and winter editions typically held in every odd numbered year. The games peaked as large as 12,885 athletes in 2015, which was more athletes than participated at the following year’s Olympic Games in Rio. The most recent version in Naples, Italy was much smaller, with just under 6,000 participants, but FISU insiders say that was due to the uncertainty of the event after a last-minute move from Brasilia, and that the expectation is that future WUGs events will return to the larger scale.
The summer World University Games have existed in their current form since 1959, with recognized predecessor events going back to 1923 and the first International Universities Championships held in Paris, France. The Chengdu Games will be the 31st edition, and is the third time China has been awarded the bid in the last 20 years: Beijing hosted the 2001 edition, while Shenzen hosted the 2011 edition.
The 2023 summer host is scheduled to be in Ekaterinburg, Russia, with the hosting duties for the 2025 and 2027 summer editions expected in 2022.
The 2021 World University Games are planned for 268 medal events across 18 sports.
To be eligible to compete at the Universiade, athletes must be between the ages of 17 and 25 and either be currently officially registered as proceeding towards a degree or diploma at a university or similar institute recognized by the appropriate national authority, or former students who have obtained their academic degree or diploma in the calendar year preceding the event.
Smaller countries (fewer than 2 million inhabitants or 5,000 university students) have special regulations that require that students be attending their institutions for at least 2 years.
FISU says that athletes will remain eligible for competition based on their age and student status during the original dates of competition.
Japan led the overall medals table at the 2019 World University Games, earning 33 gold among 82 total medals. Russia and China each had 22 gold medals, while the United States had 21.
Most of those 21 American gold medals came from swimming, where the US dominated with 19 victories and 40 total medals. The World University Games also have competitions in diving and water polo.