University rowing championship comes to Shanghai

International contest leaves Europe for first time, to be hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

A world university rowing championship will take place in Shanghai for the first time in August.

The FISU World University Rowing Championship has been held in Europe 14 times since 1984 by the International University Sports Federation. Now the 15th is being staged in Shanghai.

About 500 participants from 25 countries and regions, including America, UK, Germany and Australia, will compete in this year’s event, making it the largest ever in its history.

With Shanghai Jiao Tong University responsible for the organizing, the event will take place from August 10-13 at the Shanghai Water Sports Center in Qingpu District.

Zhang Ansheng, vice president of Shanghai Jiao Tong and president of the event organizing committee, said rowing is a popular game in international universities, including Yale, Harvard and Oxford, but is still new in China.

Rowing is also one sport where Shanghai Jiao Tong has high-level competitors, some of whom are professional athletes who compete in national and international events. 

Xue Yanqing, president of the Federation of University Sports of China, said universities in China are playing a bigger role in cultivating athletes.

“Athletes are usually in their peak when they are at college-student age and many outstanding athletes are actually also university students,” he said. 

“Meanwhile, it has become more and more difficult for athletes to stand out in the world now if they merely practice sports all day long,” he added. “They have to be both good at sports and have intelligence and knowledge to cope with different kinds of challenges in the competitions. Therefore, universities will be expected to bear responsibility for athlete cultivation in the future.”

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