THINGS are looking up for the Philippine delegation as it embarks on an ambitious 11-day sojourn to New Taipei City for the 29th Summer Universiade that features topnotch university athletes from all around the world.
Sanctioned by the privately-funded Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines, the country will compete in 13 events in the prestigious multi-sports festivities from Aug. 19 to 30.
These are archery, athletics, badminton, billiards, diving, judo, golf, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, lawn tennis, weightlifting and wushu.
Once called the World University Games, the Summer Universiade is a widely-publicized multi-sports event held every two years. It is considered by many as the Olympics at the university level.
The Taipei Universiade is expected to attract more than 180 countries throughout the world, including sports powers United States, Russia, China, Japan, France, Italy, Great Britain, Canada, Ukraine, Brazil, Australia and Germany.
This year’s edition marks the fourth straight time that the FESSAP is sending athletes to the Summer Universiade.
The FESSAP is the sole national university sports organization that is recognized by the International University Sports Federation, which is the international-governing body for university sports that organizes the Summer Universiade, Winter Universiade and the World University Championship in various sports.
The Philippines owns an overall medal tally of one gold and one silver in its three previous participation in the Summer Universiade.
Recognized by the FISU since 2009, the FESSAP first competed in the Summer Universiade in 2011 in Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China and grabbed a silver medal through the effort of men’s taekwondo jin Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison.
Two years later in Kazan, Russian Federation, the Philippine flag was raised for the first time ever during the medal presentation as Grandmaster Wesley So romped away with the gold medal in men’s chess in a blitz match following a seven-way tie at the top of the standings.
It was the country’s first and only gold-medal finish in Universiade history. Only 39 other nations snared a gold during the 2013 Kazan Games.
In the 28th Summer Universiade in Gwangju, Republic of Korea in 2015, the Philippines went medal-less but settled for a seventh-place finish in men’s golf. The country saw action in eight events – athletics, badminton, golf, judo, lawn tennis, table tennis, swimming and taekwondo.
Host Korea topped the medal standings with a 47-32-29 gold-silver-bronze performance, easily outdistancing Russia (34-39-49), China (34-22-16), Japan (25-25-35) and the United States (20-15-19).
The Americans romped away with the gold in men’s basketball and women’s basketball. The US men’s squad, which was represented by the University of Kansas Jayhawks, defeated Germany, 84-77, in double overtime during the finals. It knocked off 2013 titlist Russia, 78-68, during the semifinals. The Russians salvaged the bronze medal with an 80-72 thumping of Brazil.
On the distaff side, the American ladies routed their Canadian counterparts, 82-63, in the gold-medal encounter for their sixth consecutive championship. Russia, which won the women’s event in 2013 on home soil, settled for the bronze with a 71-60 trouncing of Japan.