There is now one week until the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 World University Winter Games takes place in Trento, Italy, and anticipation continues to grow among the athletes and staff of Team Great Britain (GBR).
Team GBR is made up of five squads – Curling, Ice Hockey (Men’s and Women’s), Cross-Country Skiing and Snowboard Cross. The team is made up of 78 persons in total, including 52 athletes.
They will compete in several venues across the Trentino region (from east to west): Canazei (Men’s Ice Hockey), Tesero (Cross-Country Skiing), Pergine (Women’s Ice Hockey), Baselga di Piné (Curling) and Monte Bondone (Snowboard Cross).
This is the 26th edition of the World University Winter Games, or Winter Universiade, which is organised by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and held every two years.
The first day of competition – featuring GBR Women’s Ice Hockey versus Japan – is on Tuesday 10 December, with the Opening Ceremony following on 11 December; Luke Piggott, Men’s Ice Hockey Captain, will be GBR’s Flag Bearer. It is certain to be a spectacular event, with around 1,800 athletes from 59 nations participating in the Games.
Following on from Women’s Ice Hockey, the Snowboard Cross qualifying and finals take place 11-12 December, while Curling, Men’s Ice Hockey and Cross-Country Skiing all begin their campaigns on Thursday 12 December.
In taking part in the World University Games, GBR’s athletes follow in the footsteps of Jessica Ennis-Hill and Beth Tweddle, Shelley Rudman and Amy Williams.
Kyle Smith, skip for the Men’s Curling team, said: “The team and I are really looking forward to the Universiade. We can’t wait to get there and put the GBR shirts on our back – most of us for the first time!
“It will be a great experience, where we hope to learn a lot and perform at the best of our ability. We have been training and practising hard for this event and hope to make it one to remember!”
Matt Bradbury, Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach, is also optimistic ahead of the Games. The team have been at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham for their final training camp, and Bradbury said he was very happy with the way the players are gelling, with “good vibes and togetherness”.
“We are aiming to make a positive impact on the competition, and for our experience in Trentino to be a truly memorable one.”
Team GBR Chef de Mission Neil Rogers said: “With just one week until the Opening Ceremony I am pleased to report that Team GBR are well prepared and excited to start competing in Trentino.
“This is our second-largest ever delegation, and each team has spent recent weeks training and preparing specifically for this unique multi-sport event. We greatly look forward to settling into our Games accommodation and for all the action to start!”