Canadian ‘Young Reporters’ at the World Student Games

By Erin Meagher, Canadian ‘Young Reporter’ at the World Student Games

Canadian FISU Young Reporters, Erin Meagher and Justin Fauteux with Canada's flag bearer, University of Victoria swimmer Mackenzie Downing

SHENZHEN- Chinese culture was on display at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center for the opening ceremony of the 26th Summer Universiade. 25,000 spectators including almost 12,000 athletes, coaches and officials were in attendance for the spectacular event.

My fellow Canadian FISU Young Journalist representative Justin Fauteux and I were lucky enough to be asked to take part in the march into the stadium with the members of Team Canada.

The experience was truly surreal. No words could describe the feeling as we entered the stadium. Thousands of smiling faces filled the stadium as the 152 national delegations made their way to their designated sections.

Canada's Flag carried into the Opening Ceremonies stadium by University of Victoria swimmer Mackenzie Downing

Upon arrival at our seats, we received a warm welcome from a section of Chinese spectators who were on their feet cheering and waving. Many Canadian athletes took the opportunity to thank them by tossing Canadian flags and hats into the crowd.

The ceremony began with an address from the Chinese President, Mr. Hu Jingtao, who received a big applause from the crowd.

The lights were surreal and the performances unique throughout the ceremony. There were acrobats, dance routines as well as bicycle riders and entertainers on rollerblades. The costumes worn by the performers were incredibly colourful and distinguishable.

I have never been to an Olympic opening ceremony before but I am not sure how anything could possibly outshine what we witnessed tonight in Shenzhen.

Five torch bearers, who together symbolize the five continents, made their way to the centre of the stage for the lighting of the torch, which concluded the ceremony.

Prior to the start of the event, I had the chance to speak with one of the performers, 20-year-old Shenzhen native Chuxian Wu. She expressed her excitement about performing in the opening ceremony and said that she is relieved that her hard work as paid off.

“We have been training every day, 10 hours a day for one month,” she said. “We are very excited to perform our four dance routines.”

Since we stepped off the plane in Hong Kong, the hospitality that we have received has been fantastic. There are a countless number of volunteers taking part in the Universiade who have been extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Without them, the Games would surely not be as popular as they have been thus far.

The anticipation of the 26th Universiade kick-off has come to an end but the excitement surrounding the Games is just beginning. 7,865 athletes have spent countless hours preparing for their events in hopes of making their country proud. Let the games begin!