The 27th Winter Universiade is about to begin
STRBSKE PLESO - The traditional opening press conference of the Winter Universiade was held this afternoon in Strbske Pleso in the presence of representatives of the Organizing Committee of Slovakia, the FISU President, the FISU Secretary-General/CEO and finally the FISU Director for the Winter Universiade. The Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic and President of the Organising Committee, Mr. Juraj Draxler, was also present at the meeting.
Technical problems have not allowed our Spanish hosts and the city of Granada to support the organization of Nordic skiing and biathlon events, which is why these disciplines have been relocated to Slovakia.
The Strbske Pleso ski-jump venue is known worldwide and has hosted a competition of the Ski Jumping World Cup every year between 1980 and 1987 and also in 1991. The Junior World Championships were also hosted here in 1990, 2000 and 2009. The 1987 Winter Universiade took place here as well as the ski jumping competitions of the 1999 Winter Universiade in Poprad Tatry.
As for the Osrblie biathlon track, it has hosted many international IBU events but also the Biathlon World Championships in 1997.
Slovak Minister Juraj Draxler was the first to speak and to recall the pride of Slovakia to host another FISU event. As Minister of Sports, he was convinced that these games will take place in a spirit of fair play. FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien put forward the problems sometimes encountered by committees of organizations where the host countries have been hit hard by the crisis, as is the case in Granada. He applauded the reactivity of FISU and our Slovak friends. Together they were able to be innovative and to allow the hosting of these competitions on two different sites.
Eric Saintrond, FISU Secretary General/CEOEric Saintrond, FISU Secretary-General/CEO took stock of the participation in the Universiade. With 31 countries expected and a total of 700 participants, the Slovak part of the Universiade will be a success. Together with the Universiade Granada, the 2015 winter edition should easily reach a total of 2,000 participants from 42 countries.
Eric Saintrond also stressed the importance of the media coverage of this particular Universiade.
For the sports that will be organized in Slovakia, i.e. Nordic skiing and biathlon, a total of 42 hours of live coverage will be offered. Eurosport will broadcast 30 hours, RTR Russia 35 hours and KazSport (KAZ) 30 hours.
Highlights will be broadcast in China, the US, Korea, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia.
Finally, FISU will continue its webTV programme with live coverage of several competitions via a dedicated website (a direct link will be available on www.fisu.net).
To close this press conference, Peter Hamaj, the Secretary General of the Slovak Organising Committee thanked all those who helped in the success of this event and especially the FISU delegates that were constantly at the side of the local OC to assist them. He recalled that even with 700 participants, the logistics are as important as for a full-size Universiade.