The International University Sports Federation, better known as FISU, is an organisation established to uplift University Sports worldwide, provide volunteering opportunities for University students worldwide and organise global events. Sri Lanka is proud to have student ambassadors comprising Ranoj Norbert from University of Ruhuna and Themiya Bandara from University of Colombo
At the beginning of the 19th century, competitive sport took its first steps, guided by the father of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. It was in the United States, England and Switzerland that the first inter-university meets were held. They gradually led to the emergence of university sports associations, the first of which came into being in the United States in 1905. The International Confederation of Students was established in 1919 and it was this organisation's Sports Committee that launched the first World University Games in 1923.
FISU's origin goes back to the 1920s when Frenchman Jean Petitjean organised the first 'World Student Games' in Paris, in May 1923. The following year, the International Confederation of Students (ICS) associated itself with this movement. In 1946, the International Students Union (ISU) was created in Prague to pursue the works of the International Confederation of Students, and it organised the 9th World University Games in 1947. In 1948, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) was created under the impetus of Paul Schleimer of Luxembourg, and it launched the International University Sport Weeks in 1949 in Merano, Italy.
The expansion of university sport around the world created a need for newer meets and competitions, to complete the FISU sports programme. FISU launched the World University Championships in the early 1960s. Over 50 years, more than 300 Championships have been organised, covering a large range of events. In 1959, FISU and the ISU agreed to participate in the games organised in Turin, Italy, by CUSI, the Italian Student Sports Association. These 1959 games were named the 'Universiade'. A flag with a 'U' surrounded by stars was created, which was to begin its journey around the world. Every 2 years, there are two Universiades named as Summer and Winter Universaides. The last time these events were held was in last year and next year, the 31st Summer Unversiade will be held in China while the 30th Winter Universiade will be held in Switzerland.
Currently the World Forum is happening in Budapest as a virtual session for the first time and aims to bring together students, officials and other key partners involved in the University Sport Movement with FISU Member Associations. We wish our student Ambassadors the best of luck as they aim to use their knowledge to uplift Sri Lankan University sports and work towards building a community who is aware of the opportunities available on a global scale and in preparation for next year's Universiades.