28th Summer Universiade ends today

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Members of the Philippine delegation to the 28th Summer Universiade with former Senator Nikki Coseteng. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Members of the Philippine delegation to the 28th Summer Universiade with former Senator Nikki Coseteng. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

‘Youth is the light of the future. The beautiful memories when youth gave light to another light. Now, they take on a new challenge to share their own light.”

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This will be the theme of the 2015 Summer World University Games closing ceremonies scheduled at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. in Manila) today at the Gwangju Universiade Main Stadium in Gwangju, South Korea.

More than 900 performers are tapped in the closing rites aiming to showcase the “the passion of the youths who have embraced the light, shone brighter than any other. Now, we embrace their light.”

The Filipino athletes along with former Sen. Nikki Coseteng, Philippine Swimming League (PSL) President Susan Papa, Sectary General Maria Susan Benasa, and coaches Alex Papa and Sonia Baltazar, will be parading with pride and honor despite failing to win a medal in their 12-day journey.

“This humbling experience has indeed shown us that there is potential for all the Filipino athletes to reach greater heights as long as they set their goals higher than what is expected from them,” said PSL standout Annyka Dela Cruz of University of the Philippines-Visayas.

“With this, I hope and encourage every Filipino athlete to never settle with what you have presently accomplished. There are larger triumphs that all of you can attain. And I guess, based on experience, joining international and universal games is a great head start,” she added.

De La Salle University’s Jason Difuntorum also shared his “once in a lifetime” experience saying “I am really grateful that I was given this kind of opportunity to represent our country. I would not trade this for anything in the world.

“I want to get another chance to compete in the next Universiade. I don’t mind if I won’t be able to compete in other national games such as the UAAP because the Universiade is truly way out of reach compared to the UAAP. Dream big. Don’t just dream of competing in the UAAP or Palarong Pambansa. Aim to compete in competitions like the Universiade and the Olympics,” he said.

Besides the colorful presentations and fireworks, the passing of torch to Taiwan, the next Universiade host, is one of the highlights of the program. The 2017 edition of the multisporting event for student-athletes will be held in Taipei City.

“Before I finally move on from all that has happened these past few days and from this brilliant opportunity, I would like to say thank you to the Philippine Swimming League and for the people behind this, for making this possible not only for me, but also for all the swimmers which have participated in the 28th Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea. I am just too blessed to have represented our flag,” stressed Dela Cruz.

Host South Korea bagged the overall title with 46 golds, 28 silvers and 29 bronzes followed by Russia (33-38-46), China (33-21-16), Japan (25-24-34), US (18-15-18), France (13-9-8), Italy (10-14-17), Iran (7-2-6), Ukraine (6-17-5) and Taiwan (6-12-18).

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