Chengdu Universiade closes as "dreams come true"
The 31st FISU World University Games closed on Tuesday evening at Open Air Music Park of Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province.
From July 28 to August 8, a total of 6,500 athletes from 113 countries and regions have competed in 269 events across 18 sports, FISU records were broken 22 times during the 12-day competitions. Chinese female swimmer Zhang Yufei became the most prolific athlete at the Universiade by taking nine gold medals in all of her events.
The 411-athlete Chinese delegation, with more than half of these student-athletes selected through national trials, has collected 178 medals including 103 golds to top the table, which inked the names of 53 countries and regions, including 35 who won at least one gold medal.
State Councillor of People's Republic of China Shen Yiqin, FISU Acting President Leonz Eder and Executive President of the Organizing Committee of the Chengdu Universiade Huang Qiang attended the closing ceremony.
Eder declared the close of the 31st edition of the Universiade and highly praised the organizational work of the Chengdu Universiade, saying "On the very beginning of our journey in China, we have been embraced with warmth and hospitality that words cannot fully express. We are truly grateful for the support of the Chengdu 2021 Organizing Committee, the Federation of University Sports of China, the Government of People's Republic of China, Sichuan Province, and the city and the people of Chengdu."
"Your successes and even your struggles are reminding us that it's not just about winning medals, but about a journey and friendships made along the way which might last for a long time," Eder added.
Huang delivered a speech at the closing ceremony, expressing gratitude to all parties who contributed to the success of the Universiade.
Following Beijing in 2001 and Shenzhen in 2011, Chengdu, a metropolis in southwest China with a history of over 2,300 years has become the third city in the Chinese mainland to host the biennial Summer Universiade. It also marks the first time a city in western China hosts a major multi-sport international event.
The Universiade with the slogan "Chengdu Makes Dreams Come True" was initially scheduled for the summer of 2021, but ultimately pushed back until 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, Chengdu, described as "a city with resilience that never surrenders" by FISU Games Summer Event Manager Brian Carrer, managed to get everything in place to ensure the smooth opening and running of the Universiade.
At Chengdu Open Air Music Park, the first park rather than an indoor venue, the closing ceremony was held with a gala performance "Dreams: Lighting Up the Future" which features originally-made songs and dances, receiving enthusiastic applause from the spectators.
The FISU flag was handed over from Sichuan native world champion diver Gao Min and the first Chinese gold medallist at Chengdu Universiade Cao Maoyuan to Eder and FISU Secretary General and CEO Eric Saintrond who relayed it to Mahmut Ozdemir, member of the German Bundestag and representative of the next host cities Rhine-Ruhr.
Ozdemir then delivered a speech on behalf of next host cities, following their cultural program "Rhine-Ruhr 2025 - Passionately Connected by Fire and Water".
As fireworks burst into the sky, "Sun and Immortal Birds", the logo of China Cultural Heritage, carried the FISU flame, passed it to a girl, then circled to fly into distance as the whole world is being filled with dreams.