People - 17.08.2011 - 00:00
17 August 2011. At present, the 2011 Summer Universiade 2011, the Summer Olympics of university sports, is taking place in Shenzhen in China, where about 12,000 athletes from all over the world are competing.
Before the opening ceremony, Leonz Eder was elected as one of the four Vice-Presidents for the next four-year term of office. Eder, who has been a member of the International University Sports Federation`s (FISU) Executive Committee for eight years, was elected in the first ballot as the only new candidate out of nine. He joins the Vice-Presidents already in office, namly Zhang (China), Bergh (Sweden) and Cabral (Brazil).
The Federation will be headed by the Frenchman Claude-Louis Gallien, who succeeds the American George Killian as President.
Leonz Eder, what does it mean to be FISU Vice-President? What activities and responsibilities does that involve?
As Vice-President, I’m part of the FISU’s top body, which consists of eight members and among other things prepares the Executive Committee Meetings and represents the FISU to the outside world. Here, the focus is on contacts with the IOC and the international sports federations, but also with organisations like UNESCO, WADA and continental federations. Since the FISU has moved its headquarters from Brussels to Lausanne, I’ll be more involved in international relations but will continue to lead the evaluation commission for the Winter Universiades.
What is the benefit of your activities for the University of St.Gallen?
The HSG has always had a widely perceived international presence, particularly in teaching and research, and promotes this in a concerted way. Sports channels open new doors for the HSG, particularly because the FISU is not only concerned with competitive sports but also runs an intensive educational programme. The FISU’s motto is “Excellence in body and mind”. In cooperation with the IAD, my contacts produced synergies in the past. Looked at in this way, I also see myself as an ambassador of the HSG.
Does your work for the FISU also have concrete benefits for HSG Unisport?
The global level does not have so many direct effects on a local university sports organisation, but contacts with many university sports officials lead to an intensive exchange of ideas, possibly also visits to us which are important for the further development of university sports.
You have been active in international university sports for years. What were the highlights?
At my first Universiade in Edmonton in 1983, the Swiss Team’s march into a stadium filled with 60,000 spectators was a very emotional moment. Now, it is particularly the contacts at the highest political level. Being received for a personal talk about university sports by prime ministers such as Vladimir Putin or Wen Jiabao or the Chinese President Hu Jintao is not only very impressive and an honour but also demonstrates the weight that important countries, particularly in Eastern Europe and Asia but also in Latin America, accord to university sports and how they use it for overriding interests. What is always very gratifying and enriching are the contacts with the many volunteers, all of them young students.
The Universiade in Shenzen lasts until 25 August. Are HSG students also taking part?
With Christian Andres and Alain Lauener, two HSG cyclists were selected for the Swiss Team, as was golfer Steven Rojas. From the St.Gallen University of Applied Science – whose students are also integrated in university sports – Sandro Viglino (golf, ex-HSG) and track and field athlete Andreas Kundert are also part of the Swiss delegation, which with 93 athletes is the biggest ever to compete at a Universiade.
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