Over 100 Finnish student-athletes and team managers have traveled this week to Chengdu, China for the 31st FISU World University Games, reported Xinhua.
Markku Rantahalvari, events and training specialist from the Finnish Student Sports Federation (OLL), told Xinhua that Finland is looking forward to the games and has high hopes for success.
Rantahalvari said winning Finland's first ever Universiade medal in basketball is feasible, adding that Finland have historically had better results at the Winter Universiade, but have also done well in the Summer Universiade lately, especially in track and field.
Finland will participate in 11 events at the games. "The National Olympic Committee (NOC) has selected the participants based on the suggestions from respective discipline federations, considering their expected performance," Rantahalvari said.
Rantahalvari elaborated that Finland's team in Chengdu includes three recent European under 23-year-old medalists, namely 5,000m silver medalist Eemil Helander, javelin silver medalist Topias Laine, and Jessica Kahara, triple jump bronze medalist.
Finnish universities do not have sports programs for students. "Being active in sports, or even achieving success, does not provide students with practical benefits in their studies," Rantahalvari underlined.
While the discipline federations take care of the top hopefuls during their studies, actual student sports pursuits are mainly on a hobby and leisure basis.
Founded in 1924, OLL is financed based on a grant from the Ministry of Education and membership dues from student unions of universities.
"We help develop sports services as a whole and support individual students," said Rantahalvari.
- Chengdu Universiade