There is only 50 days to go until the European University Games start

The citizens of Miskolc and Debrecen are excited about the challenge ahead as they will soon be hosting the European University Games, Europe's biggest university sporting event.

On behalf of the European University Sports Association (EUSA), the Hungarian University and College Sports Association (MEFS), together with the University of Debrecen, the University of Miskolc, the National Event Management Agency, and the municipalities of Debrecen and Miskolc, will host this major multi-sport event in July 2024. The cities have been preparing intensively for the event for several years, as they expect to host almost 5,000 participants from as many as 17 sports disciplines.
Prompted by the occasion of the event, Ádám Schmidt, Minister of State for Sport, highlighted the importance of sport pursued at university level:

"One of our most important goals in sports governance is to increase the retention power of sport in higher education, as the Hungarian sports scene is currently losing thousands of certified athletes after their graduation from high school. This is exactly why we wish to help university students to have the opportunity to do sports while studying, either as international elite athletes or as community athletes. The main objective for us is that they should be part of the community of athletes and never stop regular exercising throughout their lives. It is a great achievement that this year Miskolc and Debrecen will host the best university athletes from across the European continent. I hope that the European University Games will be an experience that neither the athletes nor the fans would forget, and that the competitions will encourage many to join the big sports family.”

Balázs Hankó, Minister of State for Innovation, Higher Education, Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education, said:

"The new Hungarian higher education puts special emphasis on university sport, because university and sport create a community and a bond at the same time. Our aim is that our universities should provide flexible, individualized teaching and mentoring for elite athletes during their studies to help them achieve the best sporting results. We also want our universities to be open to our elite athletes after their years of active competition. We also want to see more people involved in sport in university sports clubs during the years they spend at university and to enhance the prestige of inter-university competitions. As I said last time at the closing event of the 51st Medikus kupa [Medical Cup] in Debrecen at the end of April: let's show everyone what Hungarian stamina is like! Go Hungarian universities, go Hungarian students!”
The management of Hungarian University Sports Association believes that the European University Games will be an excellent opportunity not only for athletes, but also for the entire Hungarian university community to showcase themselves and build relationships across Europe. In the past three years, in preparation for EUG2024, MEFS has created the event called MEFOB FESZTIVÁL, which is also a university multi-sport event.

MEFS President Lajos Mocsai highlighted his experience in this way:

“We started organizing the event dubbed MEFOB FESZT because we thought it would be the best way to model the EUG2024 environment, the challenges and potential pitfalls of organizing it. We gave the opportunity to Miskolc in 2022 and Debrecen last year to prepare for such an event by organizing MEFOB FESTs. The event is like a “junior brother” of EUG2024, as this year's event in Győr saw 1,500 university students compete for the Hungarian university championship titles in 11 branches of sport over 4 days. Both the Miskolc and Debrecen MEFOB FESTs were successful and we have identified a number of challenges that we can address in the EUSA summer tournament, with a greater focus on the most critical areas.”

However, the University Games are not only about sports competitions: there is also a strong focus on community and network building, cross-cultural learning and professional orientation. The Games' legacy will strengthen universities across Europe and will be an important milestone in the development of individual cities and their universities.

Regarding the current status of organizing the event, László Balogh, head of the local organizing committee and Director of the Institute for Sports Science Coordination at the University of Debrecen, reported the following:

“The event is drawing near, we can actually hear the battle drums. We are guided by tradition and innovation, as one of the mottos of our event is that, after more than 100 years of Hungarian university sport, our university clubs, the FISU Healthy Campus Gold certification of the University of Debrecen (a privilege only ten out of 137 institutions have), we can safely say that university sport is in fact coming home to Hungary. May is our busiest month, since our chief task is not only to prepare each functional area, but also to make sure that it is several times covered and ensured. Our facilities are completed, the health and safety areas are highlighted, so that everyone can return home at the end of the Games in the same condition as they arrived. Special thanks should go to the professionals at the University of Debrecen, UD Human, UD Infopark, the strong internal support for catering and accommodation, and also to MEFS. They are all great colleagues to work with, and a great team! We imagined a basically green event, where almost everything is within walking distance (about 10 to 15 minutes), yet we can count on the local transport company for providing shuttle services, while participants can use local transport free of charge with their accreditation cards.”

Zita Horváth, Rector of the University of Miskolc, also spoke about the preparations for the European University Games:

“The European University Games are only 50 days away and the whole community of the University of Miskolc is looking forward to hosting the event. The organizing committee, our staff and volunteers are still working real hard to ensure that the visiting athletes and professionals leave Miskolc with unforgettable experiences. We are in the process of preparing, upgrading and building our sporting venues so that we can welcome our guests in truly world-class venues. In about 50 days, we want to show all participants of the Games that the University of Miskolc is truly a campus of knowledge and community.”

It is worth visiting the event's social media pages to get first-hand information on both inspiring and practical content.

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