16 August 2023 – Chengdu

Observing and Learning

The delegations from Rhine-Ruhr in Germany (2025), Chungcheong in South Korea (2027) and North Carolina in the USA (2029) took part in the Observer Programme to gain insight into the size and operation of the event as future hosts of the FISU Games. Under the leadership of CEO Niklas Börger, the Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU Games gGmbH team spent several days in Chengdu, China, gaining valuable knowledge for their colleagues in Germany.

The Observer Programme is conducted at all FISU Games by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) in cooperation with the local organising committee. The programme, which lasts for the entire duration of the FISU Games, includes numerous topics and formats - tours, round tables, lectures - and aims to facilitate a direct exchange between the organisers. The participants hold talks with the heads of various departments and, in addition to the sports venues, also visit facilities such as the FISU Games Park, the FISU Games Museum and the FISU Games Village. "In this programme, it is important for us not only to observe, but also to transfer our acquired knowledge directly to our colleagues and to apply all the learnings to our needs and concepts," says CEO Niklas Börger.

Niklas Börger ©Arndt Falter

The travel team prepared thoroughly for the Observer Programme. A list was developed in which all staff members of the organising committee could put their needs and questions, which could then be answered by their colleagues on site with the help of the observations and discussions. Such programmes are about subtle nuances that need to be clarified and addressed already now, two years before the event: How are the rooms equipped, what kind of food is offered at breakfast, how is the laundry service set up and much more.

Rhine-Ruhr 2025 Team in Chengdu ©Arndt Falter

Planning for the Observer Programme in Chengdu started already in March. Martin Olszowy, Programme Manager at the Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU Games, was responsible for coordinating the trip to Chengdu. "When arranging the Observer Programme in Chengdu, we tried to form a group of people who would be able to address a broad range of topics," explains Olszowy. "Using the organisational chart, therefore, the respective team leaders were chosen from each area to ensure that all subject fields were covered. As the sports sector was a key area in our planning, all team leaders from this department were assigned to a trip to Chengdu."

Rhine-Ruhr 2025 Team in Chengdu ©Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games

For Benjamin Sahel, the trip focused on competition management, which he is responsible for as Team Lead Sports at the Rhine-Ruhr 2025. "The Observer Programme in Chengdu was a great experience overall and helpful for our ongoing work. I was able to see live all the sports that I am also responsible for at our event. The exchange with the FISU Technical Committee Chairs, who are in charge of the competitions in Chengdu as well as in our country, was particularly valuable. We were able to discuss many details of the procedures, from the registration of the athletes to the timing. Each sport has its own specifics and these aspects were very well managed by the organising committee in Chengdu.

Rhine-Ruhr 2025 Team in Chengdu ©Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games

Sina Diekmann finds the timing of the programme in Chengdu very appropriate. "We are two years away from our event, which makes it very valuable for us to be here and get an even better picture of how the Games are organised. But of course we are on a different continent, in a different country, so we will definitely have a different concept as well."

Although not everything can be adopted in the organisation of the Games in 2025, it was nevertheless fascinating and insightful to learn from the organisation, planning and implementation of the Games in Chengdu. At the Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games, special emphasis is placed on sustainability, which is one of the top priorities of the Games. The decision not to build new competition venues, the use of public transport and bicycles to get from A to B, and the concept of cluster hotels instead of an Athletes' Village are just a few examples.

Representatives of Rhine-Ruhr 2025 and Chungcheong 2027 in Chengdu ©Rhine-Ruhr 2025 FISU World University Games

In addition to the official programme, the participants were able to enjoy a wide range of cultural activities and special events such as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as the reception by the German Consulate in China. A report on the handing over of the FISU flag and on the Games in Chengdu can be found on our homepage.