The third European Universities Games (EUG 2016) held in the Croatian capital Zagreb and the University Center Rijeka are the largest Games, in terms of the number of athletes and sports disciplines, in the history of the Games started in 2012 in Cordoba.

The story of the Games held from 13 to 25 July 2016 began on June 1, 2013, when in Ljubljana the EUSA Executive Committee assigned a contest to Croatian cities in the competition of the Portuguese Coimbra, which will wait for its chance at the fourth Games 2018.

The third European Universities Games (EUG 2016) brought a big increase in the number of sports in which student-athletes will compete. Total of 21 sports (badminton, basketball, basketball 3×3, beach volleyball, bridge, chess, climbing, football, futsal, golf, handball, judo, karate, rowing, rugby 7, swimming, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, water polo and taekwondo) of which for the first time two para-sports (para-swimming and para-table tennis).

The opening ceremony was held at the stadium in the Mladost Sports Center in Zagreb in the presence of top state officials led by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and EUSA President Adam Rocek, and closing ceremony on the promenade in Rijeka.

Rijeka, Zagreb and the whole of Croatia should be proud of the success of the Games. We brought thousands of young people here in the name of sports, we had the feeling that we were one big family. These were the best organized European Universities Games in history – said in the conclusion of the Games the President of EUSA, Adam Rocek, before the flag of the Games passed into the hands of the next organizers from Coimbra, Portugal.

Over 4,800 competitors from 403 universities from 41 countries participated in EUG 2016.

The most successful competitors came from Croatian universities. Out of a total of 618 medals, most remained at the University of Zagreb, as many as 65, while 21 went to academics in Split and 18 to Rijeka. Immediately afterwards there were students from the University of Valencia with 16 medals and from the Urals with 15.

As at all European Universities Games, the sports competition was followed by an adequate educational program, and the central event was the Rectors’ Conference held in Opatija and Rijeka with a conclusion in Zagreb, when the Memorandum of Understanding in university sports was signed.


In an interview for the EUG 2020 website, EUSA Vice President Haris Pavletić spoke about the legacy of the 2016 Games in Zagreb and Rijeka, which brought a much better student standard.

– When we started with the idea of ​​organizing the Games themselves in 2012, the idea was to improve student accommodation. In Rijeka we had a student dormitory in a very bad condition. We had an idea that we should work on new homes, but that was not a priority and was constantly delayed. In Zagreb we had good capacities, but something that was not realistically renewed, some things from the 1987 Universiade. That was the guiding thought, to make a sports project that will raise the standard of students. We have largely involved the state, cities and used the benefit of European funds that we had at our disposal to build three pavilions in Rijeka with some 750 beds and renovate 4,000 beds in two student dormitories in Zagreb on the Sava and Cvijetni. That was left behind by the Games. The students, who have been living there for four years, are very satisfied. Especially in Rijeka, where the capacity increased from 650 to 1,400 beds. There is a plan for Rijeka to get three more pavilions on campus with 750 beds, which would exceed 2,000. That is something that is left and that is being talked about. It is worth the event and all the efforts that are being made – Pavletić concluded.