From 25 to 27 April 2018 the City of Antwerp, Belgium, hosted the 19th PCU University Games, a yearly free sports and events program (futsal, basketball and volleyball) organized by the Antwerp University Association and endorsed by the PCU Committee to promote ethics in sport and principles of Fair Play and Universal friendship.
The PCU Games are held as a part of the Panathlon International Movement for the promotion and spread of culture and sporting ethics, according to the official recognition of the International Olympic Committee from 1982.
On April 25, at the PCU Games Opening Ceremony, the 300+ international participants were welcomed by Francis baron Van Loon, Honorary Rector of the University of Antwerp, Prof. Alain Verschoren, Prorector of the University of Antwerp and Paul Standaert, member of the International Board of Panathlon International. A student and referee representative took the oath of Fair Play and at the end of the Ceremony, PCU Games Council, President Dr. Bahram Ghadimi, declared the Games officially opened, after which delegation members were welcomed at the Welcoming Reception, while student participants attended the Welcome Party in student bar De Prof.
The Futsal Competition, held this year in 2 different sport centers, as 16 futsal teams competed at this year’s PCU Games.
The Futsal Men competition saw the Catalan National University Selection beat title-holders University of Antwerp (Belgium) in their opening game. In the end the AP University College was the Antwerp representative in the finals this year, after beating Financial University (Russia) in the semi’s. The other semi-final, attended by Panathlon International President Pierre Zappelli, was a tensely-fought duel, between the Selected Students of Iran (2016 champion) and the Catalan National University Selection, with the latter winning on penalties. In the final, the Catalan team had no mercy with AP University College, winning 9-2 to become the 2018 PCU Champions, while Iran took the bronze. Last year’s champions University of Antwerp won the Honorary Play-Off for 5th Place, while the Helmut Schmidt University (Germany) won the Consolidation Play-Off (11th Place).
The newly held Futsal Women competition saw as winners the University of Edinburgh (Scotland); beating the Catalan National University Selection in the finals. This came as a surprise, as the Catalans won the group game against Edinburgh. American University of Beirut (Lebanon) won the bronze medal game against home team Antwerp University Association.
The Basketball Competition, which saw 6 men team’s and 6 women’s teams compete for two titles, was held again at the Plantin Sports Center.
In the Basketball Men competition, the Juraj Dobrilla University of Pula (Croatia) beat 2016 champions Selected Students of Iran in their opening game, setting the stage for many very tight games in this competition. During the group phase, all teams won 1 game and lost 1 pool game, with rankings being decided on goal difference. In the final round, the Catalan National University Selection took the title, after beating host team Antwerp University Association in the semi-finals and beating Selected Students of Iran 62-60 in the final, a game they lost in the group phase. In the last minute, an injured Catalan player was attended to by Iranian opponents in an act of fair play. In the previous game Antwerp University Association had beat the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) for the bronze.
Basketball Women title holders University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy) lost their pool game against the American University of Beirut, but took home the bronze in the end. The final also was a tight game, with the Catalan National University Selection beating London South Bank University (England) 46-42.
The Volleyball Competition, hosted for the first time at Sports Center Wilrijkse Pleinen, welcomed 9 volleyball teams.
Five teams competed in the Volleyball Men round robin, with host team University of Antwerp winning all their games without a set lost. However, in the finals, played as a best-of-5 match, they unexpectedly lost 3-0 against the Catalan National University Selection, who took a 4th title of the PCU Games.
The Volleyball Women competition yielded an exciting final between host team Karel de Grote University College and the Catalan National University Selection, with the Antwerp team prevailing 3-1 in a best-of-five final, after having lost the group game the first day. The American University of Beirut took another bronze medal.
In an atmosphere of Fair Play and International Friendship, a common dinner was had by the participants on Thursday April 26th and group pictures with all participants were taken at each sports venue after the Honoring Ceremonies for each sport on Friday April 27th.
On Friday evening the PCU Committee General Assembly took place, after which the Closing Ceremony of the PCU Games 2018 was held. All participating Universities and University Colleges were awarded their certificate of participation, and the Enrico Prandi Trophy for Fair Play was awarded to London South Bank University (England). A small Closing Reception and then the Closing Party in De Prof for all participants marked an end to a successful edition of the PCU Games, with more than 450 accredited participants.
During the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony, the exposition of the Antwerp University and Panathlon Drawing Contest 2017, devoted to University Sport and Olympic principals, was set up. During the Opening Ceremony a voting round for the “Honorable Commendation of the PCU Games 2018 Participants” was organized. Participants chose with an advantage of votes the drawing “The GREA_TEST” by Dmitry Shurygin from University Synergy (Moscow). The drawings “Fair Play Handshake”, “Fair Play Volley” and “Friendship, Fun and Fair Play” also became favorites for the participants of the PCU Games 2018.
The PCU Games offered a unique platform on which sport, education and culture blends, thereby embodying the fundamental principle of Olympism and providing an opportunity for students to take part in sport competitions and international interaction with emphasis on Fair Play and Universal Friendship.
PCU Games 2018 Medal table