Three International University Sports Federation (FISU) officials are scheduled to arrive in Taiwan today on a four-day visit to evaluate Taipei’s potential to host the World University Games in 2017.
The FISU officials will be briefed by the Taipei City Government on its bid for the 2017 games and inspect the city’s sports infrastructure before filing an official report with FISU authorities on their findings, according to Chou Rey (周瑞), director of the Sports Affairs Council’s Department of International Sports.
Greater Taipei — comprised of Taipei, New Taipei City (新北市) and Taoyuan County — is vying to host the world’s premier student-athlete sports meet, also known as the Universiade, six years from now, but faces stiff competition from the Brazilian capital, Brasilia.
Chou said both Greater Taipei and Brasilia recently submitted applications to the FISU to compete for the right to host the event, and he was confident the bid committee would do its utmost to be awarded hosting rights.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) expressed confidence that Taipei would emerge victorious, given the city’s experience in organizing international events, including the Deaflympics and the Taipei International Flora Exposition.
The Brussels-based FISU will decide on Nov. 29 which city will host the 2017 Summer Universiade. The winning city will need the support of more than half of the 23 members of the FISU Executive Committee (not including the five continental representatives).
If neither Taiwan nor Brazil receives the necessary 12 votes in the first round, a second round of voting will be held to reach a final decision, Chou said.
This year’s event took place in Shenzhen, China, while Kazan in Russia was selected to host the 2013 games and Gwangju, South Korea, will be the 2015 host.
“This is the closest Taipei has ever been to hosting the Universiade,” Hau said.
Taiwan has never hosted a -Universiade and has not fared well in other recent bids. Kaohsiung lost out to Shenzhen for the right to host this year’s games and Taipei lost to Gwangju and Edmonton, Canada, in a battle to hold the 2015 games.
Hau said that if Taipei won the bid, it would push for a budget of NT$35 billion (US$1.15 billion) to host the games, with half of the funds coming from the central government.
He said the opening and closing ceremony of the 2017 Universiade would be held at the multifunctional Taipei Dome, which has yet to be constructed.
The 40,000-seat stadium is scheduled to be completed by 2016, regardless of whether Taipei wins the Universiade bid, Hau said.
The head of the Brazilian University Sport Confederation and an FISU vice president, Luciano Cabral, recently said one of Brasilia’s strengths was that 64 percent of the sports infrastructure needed for the Universiade was already in place.
The FISU team that arrives today will be looking to see how the three municipalities’ facilities stack up against Brasilia’s.
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