Volunteers at the Universiade are four times the population in Iceland
SHENZHEN,August 15,2011 -It is rare to get the opportunity to experience such a big event, like the Universiade. Especially because there is no athlete competing from Iceland. But coming here as made me realize how small my country is. For example there are more volunteers here in Shenzhen for the Universiade, than the total population of Iceland. The volunteers number about 1,2 million but the population of Iceland is only 320 000.
But there are nations with fewer people then Iceland who haves representation here at the Universiade. For example Liechtenstein, with 36 000. So why aren't there any athletes from Iceland? Hard question to answer, but I think the reason is probably that nobody in Iceland knows about the Universiade.
Even though this is the 26th Summer Universiade and there have been 25 Winter Universiades.
The Universiade are great for young athletes to take their first steps at big tournaments or games, and just see how it could be getting to the Olympics in the future. There is a reason that many people nickname the Universiade, The small Olympics. The motto for the Universiades is also very appropriate. The motto is "Start here."
Most athletes hold the Universiade in high esteem that they still come and compete here even after taking part at the World championships or at the Olympics. For example Nélson Évora, a triple jumper from Portugal who won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, went to the 2009 Universiade in Belgrade and won the golden medal in triple jump there. After second place at the 2009 IAAF World championship in Berlin he is now preparing for the 2011 IAAF World championship in Daegu later this month. But he is here again defending his title.
It is a great opportunity for young athletes to start at the Universiade. I look at this in the same way as a sports reporter, who has only worked for about three years.
My goal is to go to the 2012 Olympic games in London for my TV station as a reporter. There is a very good chance. And if I go there, I go there with such good experience after coming here to Shenzhen for the Universiade. Not just because I got the chance to cover such a big event where I had to go through security at every point, but more so because I got meet colleagues from different countries.