Rowing champion Helena Brenke wins bronze with the mixed double scull at the FISU World University Games
- Datum: 14.08.2023
Helena Brenke, a chemical engineering student at KIT, competed with the German student rowing team at the FISU World University Games in Chengdu, China, from July 28 to August 8, 2023, and was able to compete on an international stage with athletes from all over the world. Here she talks about her experiences at the FISU Games 2023:
The local core of the World University Games was the Athletes' Village, which was located on the expanded campus of Chengdu University. From here, after around an hour's journey in shared buses for all nations, we arrived at the regatta course. Just like the village, the regatta course was also professionally constructed and, in addition to the 2000m course, included several recreation and preparation rooms as well as refreshment stations.
The rowing competitions took place over three days. By winning the preliminary race, we qualified directly for the A final, which was held two days later with six boats. All of the participants were internationally experienced top athletes. Nevertheless, the field of participants in the mixed double four was difficult to assess in advance, as this boat class is only held at university level. We were therefore only able to assess our own strengths and define our goal more precisely after the preliminary heats. The hot and humid climate posed a particular challenge during the competition, which we had to counteract with ice vests, wet T-shirts and sufficient hydration. We then achieved a great 3rd place in the A final and thus secured the bronze medal.
But there was also plenty to explore beyond our own competitions. In the athletes' village alone, we were offered a huge range of activities, from learning the Chinese language and gaining an insight into music and clothing culture to making a typical lucky knot. In addition, all athletes had the opportunity to book excursions. A visit to the panda park was very popular. The panda, which is native to Sichuan province, was also the mascot of the Games. After the competitions, it was also possible to explore Chinese city life and sights outside the athletes' village.
The atmosphere throughout the city was extremely welcoming and there were volunteers everywhere to ensure everything ran smoothly. There was also a fair and friendly atmosphere between the nations in the athletes' village. In addition to the focus on the sporting competitions, there was the opportunity to exchange ideas and make connections with other student athletes from different sports from all over the world. Cohesion also grew within the German team and they cheered each other on during competitions.
All in all, the FISU World University Games were an unforgettable event! In addition to the sporting success, I was able to gain many valuable impressions and experiences and exchange ideas with people I would probably never have met otherwise. Even though this experience will certainly remain unique, I am looking forward to the next FISU Games in Rhine-Ruhr in 2025, where I hope to be able to take part again!
Source cover photo: Arndt Falter