Wed, Aug 30, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Taipei Universiade: Naples gives glimpse of next Games

By Deirdre Yeo  /  Staff reporter

Naples, which is to host the 2019 Summer Universiade, yesterday invited media for a first taste of what Italy’s Campania region would offer athletes and spectators, as they scramble to put together the event in just two years.

Naples Universiade Organizing Committee president Raimondo Pasquino, Naples Universiade Organizing Committee director-general Gianluca Basile and Italian University Sports Center chairman Lorenzo Lentini planned to show video footage of the assets that would set the 30th Universiade apart, but technical issues at the International Broadcast Center in Taipei meant the delegation could only describe what would be on offer.

“We will have a great athletes’ village on the sea,” Pasquino said. “It will be [moored] just in port to accommodate the athletes on a big cruise ship and they have a wonderful experience.”

The Port of Naples in the Mediterranean Sea is one of Italy’s largest.

Naples has only two years to prepare for the Universiade after it was announced on Dec. 23, 2014, that former host Brasilia had withdrawn from the event due to financial concerns.

“As you know we are replacing Brazil for this Universiade and we have only two years. However, we will do everything to host the best-ever Universiade. We will wait for you in Naples, because we will host a memorable event for its 60th birthday,” Pasquino said.

On March 5 last year, the International University Sports Federation reassigned the 2019 Games to Italy, where the Universiade was launched in Turin in 1959.

“We have 60 venues, 37 of which are competition venues. During the next two years we plan to have them ready,” Basile said.

The Naples Universiade is to offer 18 sports, with shooting, sailing and rugby sevens selected by the host city.

Naples is home to the Stadio San Paolo, which has a crowd capacity of more than 60,000 and was renovated for the 1990 FIFA World Cup. Italy defeated Argentina in the third-place match of that competition.

Other venues to be used for the Universiade, some of which have historic and architectural significance, are expected to meet the federation’s regulations, the delegation said.

“Universiade is the window of the world and sport,” Pasquino said. “We will realize our Universiade in two important ways, sports and culture. Besides sports we have great cultural and tourist sites, such as Pompeii. As you know, Naples is also famous for its architecture and landscape.”

“We hope the Games will be memorable ... and follow in the tradition [of the Universiade] in promoting culture, peace and fraternity, which will be the most important thing besides sport,” Lentini said.

Tonight’s closing ceremony at the Taipei Municipal Stadium is to see the torch passed from Taipei to Naples, with an introduction to Neapolitan culture to be provided by San Carlo Opera general manger Rosanna Purchia, who was scheduled to attend yesterday’s media conference, but was unable to do so, citing personal reasons.

“Tomorrow the handover from Taipei to Naples will take place,” Lentini said. “We congratulate the Taipei Summer Universiade Organizing Committee and we hope we can do something like what we have seen here.”

The delegation have spent the past week behind the scenes at events to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of the Taipei Summer Universiade.

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