Over 1,700 athletes are registered to compete at Lucerne 2021 ©Getty Images

Over 1,700 athletes are expected to compete at the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade it was revealed at the International University Sports Federation (FISU) General Assembly today.

Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade managing director Urs Hunkeler provided an update on preparations for the rescheduled event during the second day of the virtual meeting.

Hunkeler said 1,752 athletes from 57 nations have been registered for the event, with 42 days to go until the Opening Ceremony.

All participants at Lucerne 2021 must be vaccinated, following a decision by organisers last month.

Organisers are set to use eight existing sporting facilities for the 10 sports at the event, with St Moritz confirmed as the Alpine skiing venue earlier this year due to uncertain snow conditions in Lucerne in December.

The Winter Universiade had initially been due to take place in January, but the event was moved to the new dates of December 10 to 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has also been the key consideration for organisers of the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games, which will now be held next year.

Organisers told the FISU meeting that a five-member observer group studied competition organisation, delegation reception, epidemic prevention, and transportation at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Lessons from the Games will be applied to the Chengdu 2021 FISU Games next year, as well as assessing policies used at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Chengdu 2021 say 13 new venues and 36 upgrades have been completed, with test events held successfully from April to June.

A total of 850,000 volunteers have reportedly registered to support the event.

The General Assembly also heard updates from director general Paulo Ferreira on the implementation of the organisation’s global strategy, a process which began back in 2017.

Ferreira said the process has eight focus areas and 166 action plans.

A total of 73 per cent of action plans are active, comprised of 39 per cent completed actions and 34 per cent ongoing.

An updated version of the FISU Global Strategy will be sent out in the coming weeks.

A series of FISU Awards were presented during the meeting.

Estonia’s Kairus Ulp was named a FISU Emeritus Honorary Member in recognition of serving five terms on the FISU Executive Committee between 1999 and 2019.

This included eight years as the chair of the Supervision Committee for Winter Universiade.

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Tai-Cheng was awarded the same status having matched Ulp’s five terms, with his tenure including his home nation staging the 2017 Summer Universiade.

South Africa’s Malumbete Ralethe and Switzerland’s Roger Roth were named FISU honorary members.

FISU's three-day General Assembly will conclude tomorrow ©FISU
FISU's three-day General Assembly will conclude tomorrow ©FISU

Ralethe served four terms as a FISU Executive Committee member and formerly served as the former President of the Federation of Africa University Sports.

Roth has overseen technical delivery of the Winter Universiade since 2003.

The Football Association’s (FA) University Women’s Leadership Programme saw off competition from eight other nominees to win the FISU Gender Equality Project Award.

The programme identified a gap in women’s talent development pathway and seeks to increase the quantity and quality of female talent in the leadership pipeline.

Adhikari Arachchige Lakshika Madhushani of Sri Lanka received the FISU Gender Equality Champion Award.

The former national volleyball player currently works as a senior lecturer in the Department of Sport Sciences and Physical Education in Sabaragamuwa University and sits as the voluntary key coordinator at the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka.