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High hopes for Universiade

With little time to decide the winner of the 2015 Summer Universiade,five delegates were in town to get one last look at Edmonton with thevote only weeks away.

With little time to decide the winner of the 2015 Summer Universiade, five delegates were in town to get one last look at Edmonton with the vote only weeks away.

The visiting delegates from the International University Sports Federation are some of the 27 members that will decide the winner on May 23 in Brussels, Belgium.

Stephen Bergh, chair of the federation and one of the visiting delegates, said they were impressed with the aid from all levels of government being offered in the bid and the amount of volunteers that will be able to assist if the city is awarded the event.

“The support we've seen from all levels in Canadian society is impressive,” said Bergh. “Volunteers are a big factor, and it’s part of the culture here in Edmonton.”

Edmonton is one of the final three candidates for the 2015 Universiades, alongside Gwangju, South Korea and Taipei City, Taiwan. Gwangju was the runner-up in bidding for the 2013 Universiade.

Eric Newell, president of the Edmonton bid committee, said that while the cities they are facing both had strong bids, he had a cautious optimism looking forward to the decision.

“Our chances are reasonable but I’m not so naive to not realize the other two cities have excellent bids,” said Newell. “(But) I couldn’t be prouder of my bid committee and city because we couldn't have put forth a better or stronger case.”

Newell stressed that they wanted to really bring out the international flavour of the city to make the experience for the visitors and locals a multi-layered one.

“This is as much a cultural experience as it is an athletic experience,” said Newell.

If the games are awarded to Edmonton, the city’s Economic Development Corporation projects that it would attract more than $400 million and create more than 6,000 jobs in the area.

Over 10,000 athletes, 1,250 officials and 500 dignitaries would be expected to make it to the Universiade.

 
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