18th World University Handball Championship

This year’s edition of the World University Handball Championship had all the ingredients to be a hit. Date and location were rightly chosen and the championship brought together for the first time the men’s and women’s teams making it a true handball festival, hosted in the university city of Gdansk, Poland from July 1st to 9th, 2006.

Thirteen men’s teams and seven women’s teams played for the highest reward, the gold medal and the world title and it was Team Russia in the men’s competition and host Poland in the women’s competition which succeeded in pocketing the gold medal after nine days of intensive play.

16th World University Table Tennis Championship

It was a historical 16th edition of the World University Table Tennis Championship that took place in Maribor, Slovenia, from July 2nd to 9th, 2006. Not only was it the first ever FISU event organized by the Slovenian University Sports Association, but it was also the last edition of this championship. However, this means not the end of this sport under the FISU flag. Quite the contrary, as from 2007 onwards Table Tennis becomes an compulsory sport of the Summer Universiade programme, starting next year in Bangkok, Thailand.

A total of 159 athletes (87 men and 72 woman) from 24 countries competed at this championship: Austria, Belarus, China, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Poland, Russia; Serbia & Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine and USA. The level was very high as 2/3 of the women participants and ½ of the men were in the ITTF ranking.

The player everybody closely observed was Chuan Chih-Yuan (TPE), who is ranked on the 10th place in the ranking list of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). Traditionally, the Asian countries dominated the medal podium winning almost all the brass, except for German Nadine Bollmaier who won the silver in the women’s singles and Team Russia which also won silver in the women’s team competition.

2nd World University Softball Championship

After a postponement of three days due to a typhoon, the 2nd World University Softball Championship got underway on the 17th July, 2006 in Tainan, Chinese Taipei.  Host Chinese Taipei was up against five other countries including Australia, Japan, South Africa, Thailand and the United States of America. The event took place at the new Tainan Municipal Softball Stadium, which was inaugurated by the Mayor and the FISU delegates.

After having fallen to Chinese Taipei twice during the single round robin, Team USA wasn’t about to make it three losses in a row to the host country. The host team made them work for it though, as the Americans needed an extra inning to win the 2nd World University Softball Championship, 4-3. Samantha Findlay (USA) doubled to score two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Team USA its second World University Softball Championship title, after having beaten Japan, 3-2, earlier in the day in another eight inning game, which left the Japanese with the bronze medal.

In the Grand Final, the US took a 1-0 lead in the third inning before seeing Chinese Taipei take a one run lead in the top of the fourth. Lindsay Schutzler’s (USA) RBI-single tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the fifth. USA had the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t push the winning run across. In the top of the eighth it was Chinese Taipei’s turn to load the bases, and this time a run did score, and the teams headed to the bottom of the inning with the Americans seeking to come back from one run down for the second time in the game. They did so with Findlay’s hit to left field.

Australia ended 4th, Thailand 5th and South Africa 6th.

The teams will have to opportunity to compete again already next year, as softball will feature as an optional sport at the 2007 Summer Universiade in Bangkok, Thailand.

3rd FISU Rectors’ Forum

The 3rd FISU Rectors’ Forum took place from July 19th to 22nd, in Bangkok, Thailand. The topic of this event was ‘International academic co-operation: cultural awareness and sports as contributors to global peace and understanding’. The FISU Rectors’ Forum was organised concurrently with the World University Presidents Summit which gathered more than 1,000 participants.

The 3rd FISU Forum gathered 200 participants and 20 key notes speakers from five continents. The aim of this event is to reunite during three days Rectors from universities to discuss the place sports has within the University, to exchange ideas regarding the development of University sport and to better understand the way how University Sport is organised in the different parts of the world.

It was the first time that the organisers of the Universiade welcomed this FISU educational event. It gave them the opportunity to promote one year in advance the 24th Universiade which will be held from August 8th to 18th, 2007 in Bangkok and the FISU Conference that will be organised during the Games at such a worldwide academic level. Indeed, it was the Deputy Prime Minister and President of the 2007 Bangkok Universiade Organising Committee, Mr. Suwat Liptapanlop who made the opening address of the 3rd FISU Rectors’ Forum.