U Sports pulls Canadian athletes from 2022 World University Games in China
Organization cites scheduling, financial, health implications as reasons for withdrawal
U Sports will not send a Canadian delegation to the 2022 World University Summer Games in Chengdu, China this summer.
"Canada is a proud FISU Member, but U Sports is not prepared to send a delegation to this summer's World University Games in Chengdu, China," U Sports interim CEO Dick White said in a statement on Monday.
COVID-19 forced the International University Sports Federation (FISU) to postpone the Chengdu 2021 Games to 2022. U Sports, Canada's university sports organization, cited health and safety as part of its reason for withdrawing from the event.
U Sports had named a 102-person student-athlete delegation for the Lucerne 2021 FISU Winter Games in Switzerland, which were cancelled a week before the event in December due to the rise of the Omicron variant.
The World University Games are the second-largest multi-sport international event, behind the Olympic Games, and serve as the first international competition for many Canadian athletes who become Summer Olympians.
Canada's next chance to take on the World University Summer Games is August 2023, in Yekaterinburg, Russia. However, there are calls to relocate those Games amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.