Italy's head of delegation Pompeo Leone says Lucerne 2021 will be like "a sip of spring water after a desert hike" ©Getty Images

The Lucerne 2021 International University Sports Federation (FISU) Winter Universiade can be like "a sip of spring water after a desert hike" after the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy's head of delegation has said.

Pompeo Leone, who has worked to prepare the Italian team, believes Lucerne 2021 is the reward for having come through the past 18 months.

"Generally an international event such as the FISU Games are always important, but these Games in this particular moment, marked by the pandemic and therefore the isolation and reduction of normal daily relationships, have the function of a breath of oxygen after a long run, or a sip of spring water after a desert hike," said Leone.

Leone admitted there were concerns regarding the possible postponement of the FISU Winter Universiade but expressed the determination of those involved to ensure the event went ahead. 

"In addition to all the challenges to which each of us is called - work commitments, family management commitments, etc - I believe that the most demanding challenge of the last period has been living with the terrible COVID-19 pandemic," Leone added. 

"There was always the constant concern that the FISU Games might be postponed, but as managers, we remained on track regarding the organisation of this important trip while reminding the athletes to maintain their physical preparation."

With respect to his Italy team, Leone believes the country's success in the men's football European Championships, Olympics and Paralympics can spur on the student-athletes.

"I think pressure can come from the excellent results that Italian sport has achieved in the Olympics and Paralympics," he notes. 

"In sports, it is very nice and exciting to participate, but getting good results generates positive vibes that extend with amplified intensity even to the audience watching from the outside. 

"This positive excitement gives a resilient drive that disposes well towards the adversities that everyone is forced to face in daily life."

Italy won three medals at Krasnoyarsk 2019, while Turin, the birthplace of the Universiade, is set to host the 2025 FISU World University Games.