This article is part one of a two-part series that will explore the role of education in children’s academic and personal development.
The Summer World University Games just ended on the 8th of August with a resounding success. Officially opened by President Xi Jinping at the Dong’an Lake Sports Park Stadium on July 28th, the games captivated the global audiences for 11 days before drawing its curtains at the Open-Air Music Park with much fanfare.
The event marks the 32nd edition of the Summer World University Games. Previously, China had held the games in 2021 in Shenzhen and 2001 in Beijing. Staged every two years in a different city, the summer edition of the FISU World University Games brings over 8,000 of the world’s best summer sports student-athletes from more than 150 nations.
China captured an impressive highest total of 178 medals over all at the games, beating second place Japan convincingly with 93 medals. China surpassed its previous-best tally of 146 and is trailing Russia, the record holder with 287 medals.
Leading up to the games, Chengdu city also hosted the Wisdom of Youth and the Power of the FISU GAMES Conference 2023. The event was organised by The New Economy Institute, an initiative of The Centre for China and Globalization (CCG), the Beijing-based think-tank. Present at the event were Mr. Wang Huiyao, president of CCG and Yu Hongjun, former minister of international development, and Hu Shengyue, the Vice Chairman of China Public Diplomacy Association. Besides, invited delegations including Smriti Aryal from UN Women China, Tamas Hajba, from OECD, and the ambassadors of Peru, Ireland, Estonia and the Deputy Head of Mission of the Republic of Slovenia and various professionals, founders, representatives of organisations, business and entrepreneurs.
Gaston Chee, LC Venture’s Managing Partner Gaston was invited to attend a panel at the Conference. Speaking at the panel, Gaston laid out Chengdu’s rise as a city of sports due to excellent leadership of the CCP and the city municipality. He also highlighted the role sports in personal development of students, inspiring student-athletes to compete in prestigious world stages like FISU University games.
Smriti Aryal from UN Women China, also highlight how two of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertain to sports and athletes and how UN Women agenct is working towards equality of women through representation in competitive sports. The FISU games have been championing equality.
Sport and Education
The FISU World University Games, encapsulated by its motto “Excellence in Body and Mind,” bridges the perceived gap between sports and education. This games not only debunk the misconception that athletic pursuits and academic endeavors are mutually exclusive but also highlight the harmonious coexistence of both realms in nurturing well-rounded individuals.
Student-athletes like the sprinter Su BingTian from Jinan University, the first ever Asian-born sprinter to break the 10-second barrier and Wang Yu from Tsinghua university, who as a bronze medallist in Kazan 2013 FISU games held in Russia (both pictured below: photo by VCG Photo) are best examples of the height of student-athletes achievement in recent years.
Sporting profile and university admissions
Sporting prowess during high school can also make a significant difference in college applications. Admissions decisions tend to favour athlete-students or those with rigorous sporting profiles over their competitors.
The Nobel Prize-winning economist David Card, says that athletes-students received up to 70% higher chances of admission to Harvard. This is common across other Ivy League universities that lay heavier emphasis on sports in their admission decision in favour of non-athletes students.
The situation is no different in the UK. According to UCAS, UK universities do consider students’ sporting profiles in their admission decisions, with stronger candidates often considered for sports scholarships.
In the landscape of selective universities, sporting excellence is a valuable asset that enhances applications and improves admission prospects.
BeGo Education, the education brand of LC Venture, has been supporting families who are looking for differentiated services in education and in high-end sports for years. Through its Private Family Education Office (PFEO), service, BeGo Education offers boutique services tailored to High Net Worth (HNW) clients, prioritising the holistic development of each student academically and personally. This highly customised approach considers each student’s unique preferences, interests, and choices, ensuring a personalised experience.
We leverage this by encouraging and supporting our student’s athletic development in conjunction with their academic performance, which helps students build an impressive sporting profile and increasing their chances of admission to selective universities.
The pull of sports in no different in junior students as well. UK and US boarding schools are notable for sports such as cricket, rugby, golf, rowing, fencing, and pole vaulting. Some of these schools are even home to these sports. The game of squash began at Harrow School and rugby inherited its name from Rugby School. Schools like Eton also have sent student-athletes to the Olympics for athletics, equestrian and rowing and schools like Wellington College and King’s School Canterbury are among the best schools for athletics.
These schools are actively seeking talented athletes to bolster their competitive sports programs and they are open to recruiting internationally to attract top-tier athletes. Chinese students who excel in these high-demand sports have enjoyed a unique advantage in their applications to these schools. Conversely, Oxbridge and other competitive colleges themselves have fierce sporting competition in these sports and their admission decisions favour such applicants.
As we continue to navigate the intersection of sports and education in our up-coming part two of this two-part series, we recognise that holistic development fostered by sports extends far beyond the field, shaping individuals who are not only academically accomplished but also equipped with the skills and values needed to excel in a diverse and interconnected world.