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  • Angélique Brugger

World University Championship ChengDu 2021 (2023)

Finally I have the time to write a little blog of the World University Games in ChnegDu. The fact that we really flew to China after 2 cancellations is incredible for me. But it's best to start from the beginning. My first qualification for the Universiade was already in 2021, quite unexpectedly at the Hi-Point Meeting in Zurich. Unfortunately, the sanitary crisis came in between and the competition was cancelled and postponed to the next season. The following year it was also cancelled again in the last moment. Therefore, I was rather critical that we should really travel to China in 2023. The anticipation was rather suppressed, as I still expected a cancellation until I sat on the plane.

Well, then we really sat in a plane, the anticipation grew and the 12h flight flew by. When we arrived at the airport in ChenDu, we were received directly by the volenteers of the competitions. When we saw the printed buses, we knew that they had been waiting for this competition for as long as we did. And the closer we got to the athlete village getting better and better. Everything was labelled, posters hung everywhere and the village was gigantic.

I think the organisation team has given everything that we feel at home and that we can experience a great competition. The first day we had to train in the so-called "hotel pool" because the competition pool was closed. I think with a hotel pool we all think of a small pool but here it was the opposite and we could have held our competition in this pool as well. :) On the next few days, we were able to train in the competition stage, where the warm-up pool (10X50m pool) and the competition pool were. We were able to complete the stretching sessions and explosiveness training in an enormous strength centre directly in the village.

Our anticipation of the opening ceremony increased more and more, the helpers prepared the buses/cars. Kilometres of long queue with buses, all of it were provided with the logo, were waiting for us. We had to go through several checks until we were then driven by bus to the opening stage. However, before that, we were led to a smaller stage to wait until each country could enter the stage individually. The atmosphere and the organisation was awesome and I'm not sure I'll ever experience it again. We got a lot of souvenirs and gadgets that we could take home. And were even personally welcomed by Chinese presidents.

The 1st August, the competition has started for us, many sports have already left again. The competition lasted 7 days. The long period of time was new to me, but I tried to make the most of it. My performance in my individual races were not enough for me to get into a semi-final. Nevertheless, I am grateful that I was able to gain a lot of experience, which will certainly help me in the future to digest such competitions better and thus to be able to better retrieve my best performance. We were still able to qualify for the final in the women's relay 4x200m freestyle and finished 8th. Also in the 4x100m Freistil Mixed season, we reached the final as 7th.

In addition to the competition, there were many activities to do in the Athletes Village. Boredom, wasn't really there. We were able to get to know Chinese culture better and make many games, etc. We were able to eat during these 2 weeks in 2 large canteens, which were expend over 2 floors. Many different directions of kitchens were offered and everyone could test themselves through everything. My diet might have been a bit too rice-heavy, but you could choose that yourself. :)

We had the great chance to stay until the end of the competition and were thus able to witness the closing ceremony. Again, they haven't organised anything small, even though they let us know that it will be smaller. We enjoyed it very much.

The return flight was rather turbulent. We flew from ChenDu to Beijing and from Beijing to Rome and there to Zurich. The return flight seemed longer than the outbound flight, but it was just as good. Now I am happy to be back in Switzerland and to treat myself with a few days off. But soon we will continue into a new season. I am looking forward to everything that is yet to come and thank everyone who is cheering with me.

Grossen Dank für die vielen schönen Fotos geht an Mjrijam Leutwiler!

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