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USSA countdown one year to go to Chengdu 2021

Today marks one year to go for the next edition of the FISU World University Games (WUG) in Chengdu, China. USSA have joined FISU in the countdown to the games, with much anticipation and enthusiasm.

“18 August marks an important milestone for us - it will be exactly one year to go for the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games. Despite the uncertainty that looms ahead of the entire world right now, we can say with confidence that preparations for the next edition of the summer games are in full swing,” wrote FISU.

The World University Games is an established part of high performance programmes and is recognised as a key stepping stone for young high performance athlete’s developmental pathway. These games also provide a significant opportunity for officials seeking to manage/coach/work in a high performance global multi-sport environment. For this reason, the Summer Universiade is utilised as a dress rehearsal by many Olympic Federations and the Games are often referred to as the “Student Olympics”.

Last year South Africa led the way in the medal table and were number one in the African continent. Team SA managed to surpass their initial eight-medal target in some style as they ended the games with 18 medals in total. This was a personal best for the country as they beat their previous best tally of 14 medals which were won at the Kazan 2013 Summer Universiade. This was significant improvement from the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade were South Africa only secured five silver medals.

Of South Africa’s 18 medals last year, six of them were gold, with five of those earned in the swimming pool: flag-bearer Tatjana Schoenmaker touched the wall first in the 100m and 200m breaststroke; Tayla Lovemore summited the podium in both the 50m and 100m butterfly while Zane Waddell claimed gold in the 50m backstroke.

Historically, Team SA’s most successful sporting codes have been athletics, swimming, sport shooting / archery and rowing which have all bagged a number of medals throughout the years.

USSA caught up with the Chef de Mission for the 2021 Chengdu World University Games, Yoliswa Lumka who will head up the General Delegation Management team.

Last year Team SA came away with 18 medals, with one year to go what are your hopes for next year’s team going forward?

The planning is always that we do better than the previous outing, so we are looking at a minimum of 18 medals and a Top 10 finish.

We are faced with the reality of a pandemic and all university sports in South Africa has been cancelled for the year, what is your word of encouragement to athletes who are hoping to put on USSA colours next year?

There’s always hope, I would say to athletes to keep themselves in the best condition possible. We are looking at 3 major games Olympics/Paralympics, World University Games and CUCSA next year; it will be the greatest opportunity for an athlete to shine.

Are you looking forward to the challenge of another WUG, this time as Chef de Mission?

Always, the opportunity to serve is one of few but ultimate rewards.

What are some of yours and your team’s preparation for the games?

The current focus is to balance sporting codes between the WUG and CUCSA as some codes can participate at both. Next, will be to finalize the squads to prepare for the 2021 Chengdu WUG.

Posted by Kimara Singh (U-MEDIA) on 2020-08-18.
University Sports South Africa
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