The Chengdu Open Air Music Park was the venue for the climax of the Chengdu 2021 Summer World University Games ©FISU

The Chengdu 2021 International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer World University Games have come to an end in China with a predictably spectacular Closing Ceremony at the Chengdu Open Air Music Park.  

"Chengdu has truly made all dreams come true," FISU President Leonz Eder told the crowd.

"From the very beginning of our journey in China, we have been embraced with warmth and hospitality that words cannot fully express.

"Today as we gather, we share a bittersweet moment, on the one hand over the last 12 days, we have witnessed the best Games ever, on the other, we must now bid a heartfelt farewell to the wonderful city of Chengdu."

He also made a special reference to those who had not been allowed to take part.

"As we now say goodbye, we will not forget all the student athletes who could not share with us this wonderful experience here in Chengdu for reasons for which they are not responsible," Eder said.

The Closing Ceremony was staged in Chengdu's Music Park as organisers decided to change location from the stadium.

FISU Acting President Leonz Eder insisted the Chengdu 2021 Summer World University Games were the best ever ©FISU TV
FISU Acting President Leonz Eder insisted the Chengdu 2021 Summer World University Games were the best ever ©FISU TV

"We want to share China’s young spirit with the world and let it feel the power of youth," ceremony director Jia Ding said.

A giant dove tree rose centre stage into the air before its blossoms transformed into doves, the universal symbol of peace.

Giant panda Rongbao, the mascot of the Games, performed alongside dancers dressed as pandas in a performance of music and dance specially written for the occasion and entitled: "Dreams Lighting up the Future."

"Giant panda and dove tree, ambassadors of friendship across time and space, carry the message that be it in the past, present or future, the Chinese people stand ready with the people of the world to create a brighter future," a message on the scoreboard said.

Some 6,500 athletes from 113 nations had taken part, among them double world and Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Zhang Yufei of China, who won nine gold medals.

"I thank each and every one of the student athletes, your successes and even your struggles are reminding us that it's not just about winning medals, but about a journey and friendships made along the way which might last for a long time," Eder said.

The FISU flag which had flown throughout the week was lowered to the traditional student anthem Gaudeamus Igitur.

China’s double Olympic diving gold medallist Gao Min, herself a World University Games gold medallist at the Sheffield 1991 Universiade, joined China’s first champion of the event, wushu gold medallist Cao Maoyuan, to deliver the ceremonial FISU flag.

The FISU flag was handed over from China to Germany during the Chengdu 2021 Closing Ceremony ©FISU
The FISU flag was handed over from China to Germany during the Chengdu 2021 Closing Ceremony ©FISU

Mahmut Ozdemir, member of the German Bundestag and Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community of Germany and representative of the next host city Rhine-Ruhr received the flag.

"We will carry home the flag and the passion of the World University Games from China to Germany," Ozdemir said.

"We want to present our guests outstanding sporting competition, unforgettable experiences and an intercultural exchange."

Then followed a presentation from "Rhine-Ruhr 2025 - Passionately Connected by Fire and Water."

Finally in a blaze of light and movement entitled "Sun and Immortal Birds", the Cauldron was extinguished as a phoenix swirled around the Cauldron and delivered a spark to a small girl.

She threw it into the air, "as if the whole world was to be filled with dreams, in a symbolic embodiment of the Games motto, Chengdu makes dreams come true."

Then the ensemble cast joined in a rendition of the traditional song of farewell "Auld Lang Syne."

The Rhine-Ruhr 2025 Summer World University Games are scheduled to open on July 16 2025.

They are set to be centred on the city of Duisburg which acted as emergency host in 1989 when the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo withdrew with only a few months to go.