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Britain's Biggest Ever Delegation Joins Shenzhen Universiade
Great Britain's largest Universiade delegation paraded at the opening ceremony of the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China. The British team consists of 220 athletes and support staff competing across 16 sports.

Updated:1313374789Source:Lifeofguangzhou.com

Great Britain's largest Universiade delegation paraded at the opening ceremony of the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China. The British team consists of 220 athletes and support staff competing across 16 sports. The athletes hail from 44 of Britain's world-class universities and from every region of the UK. Many will be viewing the Games as an important stepping stone to the London Olympics next year, as will their international competitors.

Great Britain has a number of Olympic hopefuls among the competitors in Shenzhen. Women's water polo, swimming, track and field, women's basketball, taekwondo, fencing and football are among disciplines in which UK athletes are hoping to shine.

Earlier this week, The British Consulate-General in Guangzhou hosted a welcome reception for athletes and staff, at which Consul General Mr Alastair Morgan expressed his hopes for British success:" For some athletes, the Universiade can be a stepping stone to the Olympics. For all athletes, participation in the Universiade is significant achievement. So I add my congratulations to the members of the UK team. May the Shenzhen Universiade be a stretching, fulfilling and memorable games for all."

At the reception, GBR Chef de Mission Graeme Maw said he expected Shenzhen to be a friendly but very competitive Games:" The preparation has been very good across the board. I think Shenzhen can be viewed as a transition from a Chinese Olympiad to a British Olympiad from Beijing to London. [The British] team is coming out very strong. There has been a marked step up in the management standard of sport in the country with the focus of the world class programmes that represent Great Britain at Olympic level. This is reflected in the high level of management and athletes here."

Highlights:

Women's water polo is taking full advantage of competition on the international stage, fielding their Olympic squad in China. Most of the team, which trains at a centralised base in a programme supported by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme and the University of Manchester, are in higher education making them eligible for the Games.

The swimmers present further medal opportunities with a solid team including Loughborough University's Sophie Casson who will compete in the open water swim.

Team GBR will feature on the athletics track and field in a big way with the women's basketball team also one to watch. Taekwondo Kyorugi will see Dawud Izza (SOAS University of London), Lutalo Massop-Muhammad (Middlesex University) and Joshua Webley (Brunel University) fighting for podium places in their respective weight categories.

The fencers have medals in sight, the team including Alex O'Connell who already has experience at Olympic level competing in Beijing 2008. He is joined by strong teammates Edward Jefferies (Birkbeck, University of London), Husayn Rosowsky (Greenwich University), James Davis (Middlesex University), Marcus Mepstead (LSE, University of London) and Jenny McGeever (Royal Holloway, University of London), all of whom have proved their capability at junior level.

BUCS's Great Britain team promises to show strength in both men and women's football, the men preparing with a pre-Games training week at Swedish club, Östersund FK in July.

Football kicks off Team GBR's participation in the University Games, with both the men and women meeting Canada in their first matches on 11 August.

(Reported by Shanna Chu)

Editor:Lynus Tan