While the UK is busy undergoing the final preparations for this year’s Olympics, Spain has been playing host to the first European Universities Games.
More than 2,500 students took part, representing teams from 151 universities in 32 European nations.
During the ten days of the Games, these teams participated in a total of 667 sports matches, competing to be named the champions in ten different sports.
A glance at the final results of the contests gives an overview of the wide range of universities taking part – and the diverse sporting strengths of Europe’s students.
However, while teams from many different countries were named as champions, several nations had a particularly good run.
Strong performance from Polish, French and Russian universities
France also did well in tennis. Two French teams made it to the men’s final, with gold ultimately taken by l’Université de Rouen.
In the women’s tennis, however, the final champions were from Russia‘s Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics.
In the women’s football, France returned to the winner’s podium, with gold taken by the University Toulouse III. The men’s contest was won by Turkey’s Haliç University.
Meanwhile, in futsal (an indoor variant of football), it was once again Russia’s turn to shine. Winners here were the women’s team from Moscow State Technical University, and the men’s team from the Siberian Federal University.
Russian teams did well in table tennis too. The Russian State University for the Humanities won the women’s competition – and very nearly the men’s too, but was beaten to the top spot by Rzeszow University of Technology, Poland.
Poland scored another win in basketball, with the women’s team from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan coming first. The men’s basketball title went to Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania.
Another Polish institution, the University of Vincent, emerged victorious in the women’s handball, while men’s handball was won by the Georgian Technical University, Georgia.
Plans for biannual European ‘student Olympics’
Speaking at the grand closing ceremony of the Games, EUSA representatives spoke about how successful the event had been, and encouraged everyone present to sign up for the next European Universities Games, which will be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 2014.
The event will be held every two years, and looks set to grow from strength to strength. The location for the 2016 Games has not yet been confirmed, but is scheduled to be announced in June 2013.
EUSA also organizes the European Universities Championships, which allow European university teams to compete in 16 different sports.
These will now be held biannually, on the years in between the Universities Games – providing ample opportunities for European students to demonstrate their sporting prowess.