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The 29th World University Winter Games came to a close on Tuesday 12 March with a stunning closing ceremony.

The bi-annual Winter University Games (Universiade), this year held in Krasnoyarsk, Russia concluded after 11 days of intense international competition between the 3000 competitors from over 50 countries.

Coordinated by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), the event sees the world’s best student athletes compete across 11 different winter sports including: Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Curling, Short Track Speed Skating, Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding, Bandy, Ice Hockey, Figure Skating, Cross Country skiing and Ski Orienteering.  

British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) sent a team of 38 student athletes and 20 support staff to the middle of snowy Siberia, to the city of Krasnoyarsk in Russia. The team, made up of students from 26 institutions included those studying Law, Economics, Mathematics, Geography, International Business, Sport and even Brewing and Distilling. 

The Universiade was opened by President Vladimir Putin with a welcoming speech and choreographed performance featuring traditional and modern Russian dance and performances at a ceremony in the Platinum Arena showing the true warmth of Siberia. A traditional athlete parade ensued, with the proud Great British team walking out in front of thousands of supporters and fellow athletes, led by flag bearer and men’s Curling captain Ross Whyte.
Great Britain had representatives in Curling, Men’s Ice Hockey, Snowboard Cross, Ski Slopestyle, Ski Cross and Short Track Speed Skating. 
 


Notable achievements include: 

Great Britain won a bronze medal in the men’s curling, defeating a strong Switzerland team in a tense match on the final Sunday of competition. The men’s team had topped the group after the nine round robin matches but lost out to eventual winners Norway in the semi-final. The team, made up of three engineers, a business management and sports studies student regrouped, putting on an assured performance winning 10-5 in the bronze medal match to ensure Great Britain came home with a medal in hand. 
 
Men’s Ice Hockey defeated the second ranked team in the world Sweden, winning a thrilling final game 5-4 with a late goal from top goal scorer Josh Cook in the final period. The team were in a tough group with ice hockey powerhouses Canada, Kazakhstan and Switzerland but managed to save their best performance for the final game, winning against a well organised Swedish team in front of a bumper local crowd. This win ranked the team 10th potentially qualifying them for the Universiade in 2021.
 

 
The women’s Curling team finished a respectable 4th place, losing out to hosts Russia in front of a hostile home crowd in the bronze medal play off match. They performed well throughout the competition defeating Canada, Italy, Czech Republic, Japan and Switzerland in the group stages before beating Canada once again in the quarter final. The semi-final proved a step too far, losing out to tournament winners Sweden before a tough match against the host Russians. The team departed for Copenhagen the morning after competition finished to prepare for the LGT Women’s World Curling Championships, where they are tipped to be once again amongst the medal contenders. 
 
Great Britain enjoyed success in Snowsports, with Harris Booth, a Product Design Engineering student from the University of Glasgow the pick of the results. Harris finished within the top 10 for ski slopestyle against a competitive international field. His qualification jumps saw him qualify for the final in the top five positions out of a 27 strong field. He finished in ninth place overall – a result that Harris and his coach Corinne Mayhew were delighted with. Laurence Willows from the University of Portsmouth qualified from his heat to the latter stages of the competition, finishing 15th in ski cross, one place higher than his previous games in Almaty Kazakhstan. Douglas Green, a Mechanical Engineer from Robert Gordon University also finished in 16th place in the snowboard cross.
 
Britain’s speed skaters, made up of two University of Nottingham Students and a Nottingham Trent University athlete enjoyed personal success on the ice, all achieving personal bests across the week of competition. Ethan Treacy, an industrial economics student who this season made his senior international debut at the Short Track World Cup, achieved a personal best of 42.26s in the 500m. Fellow University of Nottingham student Talya Kaye’s 47.40 was enough for a personal best over the same distance, totally three personal bests across all three distances. Charlotte Hayward was awarded a quarter final spot in the 1000m, recovering from a collision with Italian athlete Nicole Botter in the preliminaries.
 

Great Britain Chef De Mission, Frankie Kelly:

“The last eleven days have seen some incredible performances from Team GBR. From athletes achieving personal best times in Speed Skating to the men’s Curling team securing the bronze medal against Switzerland, each of the 38 athletes selected to represent GBR have done so with passion and respect, and I would like to congratulate them on their performances. Krasnoyarsk provided a great platform for the team to perform on, with world class venues, a challenging climate, and an exceptional Athletes Village, and the team rose to the challenge. 
I would also like to take the opportunity to say a special thank you to the Organising Committee, FISU, and in particular, the dedicated GBR team officials that worked tirelessly to create the unique performance environment for the athletes and support the team throughout the Games.”
 

British Universities & Colleges Sport Chief Executive, Vince Mayne:

“We are incredibly proud of our athletes for competing against some of the best athletes in the world and doing so well. They should all be very pleased and proud of the achievements and I hope they look to push on from here.
We are also both proud of and grateful to the support team who did so much to provide the best university sport experience for these athletes by delivering a seamless games time event for Great Britain." 


Men’s Ice Hockey Top Goal Scorer, Josh Cook: 

“Representing Great Britain has been such an honour. This has been something I’ve dreamt of as a kid and it’s without doubt the best moment of my career. This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’ll never forget it.”
Russia topped the overall medal table with a colossal 109 medals including 40 Golds, 38 Silvers and 39 Bronze having considerable strength in all sports with several of their athletes going on directly to World Championship Competition."

The Winter University Games has long been deemed an important dual career pathway for athletes balancing performing internationally with studying a degree. The games have been a successful vehicle for athletes going on to compete at Winter Olympic Games with notable British alumni including Curlers Anna Sloan and Vicki Adams. 
 
The team ranging from 19-24 years old have now left the purpose built Athlete Village to head back to the UK, no doubt ready to hit the books and catch up with university studies and prepare for their exams before the next round of domestic and international competition.  

For more information on the team’s achievements bucs.co/WUGSLatest
 
Partners

Trespass
 and PSM are the official team wear partners of the Great British team at the 2019 World University Winter Games. The partnership saw Trespass provide teamwear to the delegation of student athletes, coaches and HQ staff who attend the event. BUCS would also like to thank Physio Lab for providing specialist equipment to help athlete recovery and performance. 

#Krasnoyarsk2019 #WUGSGB #RealWinter
 
James Bramley - Great Britain Marketing Officer

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