10th edition of FISU World University Squash Championship officially opened last night at University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness
Hosted in the arena of the University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness club, athletes and officials from 19 nations were welcomed into the all-glass show court yesterday evening for the Opening Ceremony of the FISU 2018 World University Squash Championship.
The crowd, including athletes, officials, referees, volunteers and University of Birmingham staff were played in by the University of Birmingham Brass Quintet who did a beautiful rendition of the United Kingdom’s national anthem.
A fantastic line-up of guest speakers took to the stage to welcome the event back to the UK, 20 years after the Championship last came to Cardiff in 1998.
Chris Ryder, Championship Director and 2006 World University Squash Championship winner, started proceedings by welcoming the athletes to the arena, commenting that ‘the competition is quite literally nothing without you’.
Dr Ed Smith CBE, Pro-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, took to the stage to extend a warm welcome to all of the guests on behalf of the University – mentioning the 50 volunteers who will be involved in the event, thanking FISU for putting faith in the University to host the event, and passionately showcasing the importance of squash at the University of Birmingham.
Coleen Dufresne, FISU Executive Committee Member, was the final speaker to address the crowd:
‘FISU Championships offer a superb opportunity for a large number of university students, managers and coaches to exchange opinions and ideas and of course to achieve your best performance on the field of play. I encourage you to reach out to each other over the course of the tournament, learn about each other’s cultures and make our world a little closer and friendlier.’
The Championship was then officially opened by British Universities and Colleges Sport Board member, Ben Moorhead. The fabulous FISU anthem was played live by the Brass Quintet, and on behalf of all the student athletes, the Athlete’s Oath was taken by Lily Taylor, who will be representing Team GB throughout the Championship. Marko Podgorsek of Slovenia took the Oath of Referees on behalf of the event officials.
The Opening Ceremony kick-started the Championship with a burst of positive energy and excitement for the opportunities which lay ahead.
Let the games begin!