The slogan of the 30th Summer Universiade is #ToBeUnique and the Naples Athletes’ Village lives up to the hype. Team Canada diving, gymnastics and swimming teams have checked into one of two luxurious cruise ships, the MSC Lirica, at Naples Port, which is moored a stone’s throw from the Royal Palace with the illustrious Mount Vesuvius in the background.
Artistic gymnast Jessica Dowling and diver Laurent Gosselin-Paradis took us on a tour of the ship on Monday morning. Canada’s rugby 7’s and track and field teams will also reside on the ships during the next two weeks.
"It is so cool,” said Dowling, a University of Guelph student from Dundas, Ont. “I’ve never experienced something like this. The food is amazing, the rooms are really nice, and the amenities like the pool and workout gym are all amazing.”
In total, 2,114 delegates from 71 countries will stay on board the MSC Lirica during the Universiade, while 1,888 participants from 38 nations will call the other ship, the Costa Victoria, home.
“Staying on a cruise ship has been pretty interesting,” added Gosselin-Paradis, who studies social sciences at College André Grasset in his hometown of Montreal. “We’re used to staying in hotels so it’s pretty nice. The food on the ship is really good, with a lot of food and beverage options to recover well after our training sessions.”
Officials and dignitaries from FISU, CUSI (Italian Student Sports Association), the Region of Campania and the City of Napoli officially opened the unique village, one of three athletes’ villages, on Friday (June 28).
“Today, I had the chance to take part in a tour of both ships,” said FISU President Oleg Matytsin. “What a fantastic place! I have no doubt our athletes will be very excited. For example, I already spotted countless locations for fancy Instagram photos and videos. I was so impressed, now I’m considering asking the mayor of the village to let me stay a day or two on one of the ships.”
CUSI President Lorenzo Lentini was equally impressed with the setting. “I hope the student-athletes who live on these ships for the next two weeks will truly enjoy this unique occasion. For us, this ribbon-cutting ceremony is very satisfying, and also full of emotion, because it’s part of all the hard work that has been done to make Napoli 2019 a reality.”
Team Canada diving, women’s soccer and women’s water polo kicked off the action with preliminary competition on July 2, with the 30th Summer Universiade officially set to get underway on July 3.