2017 Summer Universiade opens in Taipei

Republic of China (Taiwan) President Tsai Ing-wen declared the 2017 Summer Universiade open during a spectacular ceremony welcoming more than 11,000 athletes and support staff from 142 countries and territories at Taipei Stadium Aug. 19.

The curtain raiser for the 29th Universiade�the largest international sporting event ever staged in Taiwan�featured some 2,500 performers of all ages in a colorful celebration of athleticism, dance and music before a capacity crowd of over 18,000.

In his opening remarks, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je thanked the International University Sports Federation (FISU) for the opportunity to host the Aug. 19-30 competition. Through staging the sporting extravaganza, the city aims to demonstrate its confidence, passion and vitality, as well as transcend geographical distances and cultural differences to share peace and friendship with the world, he said.

Ko conveyed his best wishes to all participating athletes in achieving their sporting ambitions, adding that the people of Taiwan will cheer them on enthusiastically.

In response, FISU President Oleg Matytsin expressed his confidence that the culture, friendliness and hospitality of Taipei will be remembered for many years to come by competitors, officials and visitors alike.

But Universiade is not only about memories. It's also about building the knowledge and experience that will help Taipei establish itself as one of the world's sports capitals, he said.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach also sent his best wishes in a pre-recorded video played during the ceremony, encouraging participating athletes to make new friends from around the world, compete in the spirit of respect and fair play, and grab the opportunity to shine on the international stage.

According to the organizing committee, the opening ceremony, themed For You, For Youth, comprised three parts; Vibrant Island, depicting the various cultures and indigenous tribes of Taiwan; Hybrid Taipei, conveying the urban environment of the host city; and Global Tribe, spotlighting technological development and the digital era.

Star Taiwan performers in the show included aboriginal diva A-Lin, pop star Leehom Wang, contemporary dancer Peiju Chien Pott, violinist Tseng Yu-chien and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. The pinnacle of the evening saw the lighting of the Universiade flame by Chen Chin-feng, the first player from Taiwan to compete in U.S. Major League Baseball.

Also known as the World University Games, the Universiade is an international sporting and cultural festival held biennially in a different city worldwide. The 29th edition in Taipei involves some 7,746 student athletes from 141 countries contesting 21 sports at 38 competition venues in Taipei, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, New Taipei and Taoyuan cities.

In addition to the large number of participants, the Universiade has attracted 1,069 journalists from 255 media outlets worldwide, including 13 student reporters from 12 countries. More than 18,000 volunteers have also been recruited for the event, according to the organizing committee.

Source: Taiwan Today