Chengdu FISU University Games: Fostering unity, innovation and hope in a changing world

By IMRAN KHALID | Gwadar Pro Jul 31, 2023

Editor's Note: The writer is a freelance columnist on international affairs based in Karachi, Pakistan. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.

Amidst enchanting melodies, the 31st Summer FISU World University Games commenced on July 28 in Chengdu. The Chengdu Universiade has drawn 6,500 athletes from 113 nations, embraced by China's warm hospitality. Notably, leaders from Indonesia, Mauritania, Burundi, Guyana, and Georgia also attended the event, reaffirming the significance China placed on this international gathering.

China is hosting the Summer World University Games on its mainland for the third time, signaling a return to normalcy after the pandemic's disruption. Previous events were held in Beijing and Shenzhen in 2001 and 2011 respectively. Notably, this grand sporting spectacle marks the first instance of a world-class multi-sport event taking place in western China.

Chengdu, the vibrant host city, promises an indelible experience for athletes, guests, and global viewers alike. As history unfolds, this Universiade holds the potential to etch a significant milestone in the annals of international sports. The World University Games embodies the spirit of youth, solidarity, and camaraderie, setting it apart from other global sporting events. Youthful participants converge in a celebration of sports, but more importantly, in fostering interchanges among the next generation. In these times of heightened global tensions, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Universiade serves as a beacon of hope for promoting understanding and cooperation amidst a world deeply divided.

The Chengdu Universiade has ushered in a new era by leveraging cutting-edge 5G technology, the first for events of its kind. In a commitment to sustainability and waste reduction, 36 venues were ingeniously repurposed from existing facilities, while only 13 new venues were constructed. Smart construction technologies played a pivotal role, in promoting energy efficiency, lowering carbon emissions, and enabling multifunctional use of spaces.

The adaptability was striking – for instance, an ice hockey rink effortlessly was transformed into a basketball court in a matter of hours. Embracing eco-friendliness, a fleet of 1,300 new energy buses and 1,000 new energy cars, including driverless vehicles, powered the green transport system. Smart robots, including robotic table tennis players and the versatile Rongbao, the Universiade's mascot-named bot, are revolutionizing key venues. They aid players in practice, deliver first-aid kits, and defibrillators, and even offer multi-language translation, all while adhering to crucial anti-COVID-19 measures.

Similarly, The Xindu Xiangcheng Sports Center Gymnasium, hosting water polo events, is ingeniously designed to harvest rainwater for landscaping and refilling an artificial pool. This eco-conscious initiative is projected to slash water consumption by 20 percent, saving an impressive 3,000 tons annually.

At the Chengdu Universiade, young minds from diverse races, nationalities, languages, and beliefs converge, fostering unity, broadening horizons, and nurturing friendships. This invaluable platform empowers the youth to shape the future of humanity, highlighting the profound value and strength of togetherness through shared experiences. Amidst a string of major international sporting events, China's successful hosting of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou showcases its open, warm, and friendly outlook to the world.

In a world tainted by geopolitics, sports offers a rare refuge where solidarity, friendship, and cooperation take center stage, embodying the essence of a shared future for humanity. Preserving these fields untainted by politics is vital for a global society, reminding us of the significance of fostering a community bound together by common aspirations and goals.

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