"University sport is an important asset that supports a healthy lifestyle and provides the important balance to demanding studies. Competitive sports need a direct transfer to science. Without researching and producing results, there is no progress. A lot of work has gone into the organization in the last few months. The anticipation is already noticeable among everyone," reports the chairwoman of the organizing committee and Unisport Austria Acting President Dr. Hemma Angerer.
Climbing Association Austria as a strong partner
"The first considerations for an application have already taken place in 2019. With the Austrian Climbing Federation, we quickly found an important and strong partner and met with open doors from the beginning. The prevailing infrastructure at the Innsbruck Climbing Center is also ideal and perfectly suited for such an event. For the University of Innsbruck it is a great opportunity to show its versatility. But the focus is not only on sports, rather we also have an important educational mission to fulfill. Here, one can certainly also highlight our volunteer program. As part of a course, students have been meeting for a few months and gaining important knowledge in sports and event management. They have already integrated themselves in different areas, are working diligently and show a remarkable self-initiative", says Mag. Gernot Hupfauf, General Manager FISU World Championship Innsbruck.
11 Austrian athletes, who were selected together with the Climbing Federation Austria, will participate in the University World Championship. Mag. Manfred Pfeifer, Acting Secretary General Unisport Austria, emphasizes the important double pass between top sport and studies: "The athletes put a lot of effort into reconciling their sport and their education. To do this, they put up with many hardships, which must be acknowledged without a doubt. Unisport Austria wants to create a perfect framework and offer the athletes the opportunity to participate in such major international events. It is a great honor for us to host the World University Championships. We are very confident for the coming week and are happy that our athletes can present the sport of climbing in their home country.
The excitement is great
But the anticipation is not only noticeable among the organizers, also the local athletes are already fully focused on their competitions next week. "The University World Championships fit perfectly into my season planning. It was not a question whether I want to participate there. It is a great honor for me to be able to participate in it - it has a very great significance for me personally. It's not called the World Championship for nothing, it's about titles. I will try everything so that I can fight for the medals", explains Mattea Pötzi (ÖAV Villach).
Teammate Tobias Plangger (ÖAV Innsbruck) starts with a lot of self-confidence into the first really big highlight of the year after his first podium finish in the Speed World Cup in Salt Lake City (USA) and his new Austrian record: "It is a super event and once again a great platform for us athletes - we want to show our potential. For me it is another opportunity to try for a new national record. At the moment, the competitions are going one after the other. When it comes to medals, it is always exciting for us. But the most important thing is that I can deliver a good performance.
Linz Art University designs medals
The International University Sports Organization (FISU) always attaches great importance to involving students in the organization and design of its events. True to the motto "An event by students for students", the medals were also created as part of a course at the Linz University of Art. The many creative submissions were ultimately judged by a jury of experts in terms of coherence with the theme of sport climbing as well as originality. Among all the designs, the one by Alexander Till was chosen. "Medals are always a lasting memory for the participants. We are glad that the Linz University of Art has given us such great support for this project. We had an incredibly great time with the whole process. It's not at all common for students from such different fields of study to do something for each other. You could see very well that athletes and students are on fire for their subject - and that's what makes it all stand out," says Dr. Angerer, delighted with the collaboration with the Linz University of Art.
"Research Seminar" to provide important insights
In addition to an extensive volunteer program, the FISU World University Championships in Innsbruck will also be accompanied scientifically: Various aspects of sport climbing will be researched as part of the "Research Seminar".
"Climbing is not only a top sport, but also an important leisure sport. Above all, however, it is also about the approach of therapeutic climbing. We will try to work on many scientific issues within the framework of this great event. This includes mainly the areas of social psychology, training and material sciences, as well as the various biomechanical topics. The knowledge gained will then be transferred into practice as quickly as possible and passed on to the trainers as well as published scientifically. Concrete instructions for action will also be developed," explains Univ.-Prof. Martin Schnitzer, PhD (Chairman Scientific Committee).
Climbing ace Tobias Plangger also finds the scientific monitoring and therapeutic climbing exciting. At the age of five, the Tyrolean was surgically operated on his left hand and subsequently neglected it somewhat. On the recommendation of his doctor, he has had to find an occupation where his hands are challenged. "You could say it all started as therapy for me and very quickly became my great passion," reports the 21-year-old speed specialist.