The Fourth European Universities Games were held in Coimbra, Portugal. The largest sporting event in Europe during 2018, was held from July 15 to 28, gathering more than 4,000 participants who competed in 13 disciplines.
The fifth largest city in Portugal with just over 100,000 residents, famous for its University, founded in 1290 with over 20,000 students, was the right location to gather the best athletes-academics from all parts of Europe. It was also recognized by UNESCO, which put the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest in the world, on the list of world cultural heritage in 2012.
Under the slogan “a winner’s heartbeat”, athletes with special needs were included in the competitions, and some new disciplines were presented.
Medals were won in badminton, basketball, 3 on 3 basketball, canoeing, football, futsal, handball, judo, rowing, rugby 7, table tennis, tennis and volleyball.
291 European Universities took part in the Coimbra Games. A total of 506 teams participated in the competitions. In addition to 3,300 athletes, there were 299 coaches, 73 assistant coaches and 141 heads of delegations. Justice was administered by 355 referees. The games were helped by almost 700 volunteers, and there were 159 accredited journalists who spread the story of another memorable event, the largest multi-sporting competition in the history of Portugal, across Europe.
As in previous Games that began in Cordoba in 2012, sports competitions were followed by adequate events related to the educational and social aspects of university sports in Europe. Workshops on Anti-Doping, Inclusion and Dual Careers were organized, as well as the Rectors’ Conference as a very important and significant event of bringing the academic community closer and promoting student sports throughout Europe.
Through the workshops, the participants also had the opportunity to meet Portuguese Olympic medal winners such as judoka New Delgado, who spoke about his path to success, in which education was an important role.
“Being good at something means starting early with a serious investment in your own career. That way, you have a better chance on the market in the future than someone who is exclusively dedicated to studying, “Delgado said to the young athletes.
What is left behind the Games is certainly the most important, and it concerns the reconstruction of sports facilities in Coimbra. The Games also received support from the Erasmus + program of the European Union.
– The legacy of the Games is more than visible in Coimbra, primarily at the university stadium. It remains our duty to build a calmer and better world with the intangible that we got by organizing the Games, educating young generations through sports without discrimination of any kind in the Olympic spirit, which implies full understanding in the spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play -said during the Closing Ceremony at the University Stadium, the Secretary General of the Games, Mario Santos, in the presence of EUSA President Adam Roczek and representatives of the State Secretariat for Science, Technology and Higher Education.
The flag of the Games, as tradition suggests, was handed over to the organizers of the next fifth European Universities Games in Belgrade, which will be held in July 2021.