CU students set for Winter Uni Games

Friday, 06 January 2023 13:14

In under one week, the Winter World University Games (formerly Universiade) will kick off in Lake Placid, USA, where the Czech Republic, through the Czech Association of University Sports (CAUS), will send a 142-member team comprising 93 athletes. Among them will be 12 students from Charles University, who will compete in skiing, hockey, biathlon, snowboarding, and speed skating.

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Representatives of the Czech team at a press conference. From left: chairwoman of the Czech Ice Hockey Association Ivana Ertlová, coach of the hockey team Jaroslav Liška, hockey representatives Tomáš Duda and Adéla Jůzková, downhill skier Tomáš Klinský, and snowboarder Jakub Žerava with coach Marek Jelinek.

The 30th anniversary edition of the World University Winter Games will begin in Lake Placid on Thursday, January 12, and will last for ten days. Twelve sports are on the schedule, and the Czech Republic has represents in each, including the women's hockey tournament, which is being held for the first time. The women's hockey team will also be the first to enter the Games, playing against Great Britain on 11 January, while the men will face Sweden a day later. A few hours before the opening ceremony in the evening, the snowboardcross qualification will also get underway. 

Jakub Žerava, a student from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport at Charles University, who competed at the last Games in Krasnoyarsk four years ago, where he finished eighth, will be there. “I was third best in the qualification then, but then I had a bit of bad luck in the semi-finals, so I would like to make up for it in Lake Placid,” he told Forum magazine at a press conference before the departure of the Czech athletes. “Traditionally, the Swiss, Canadians and the home squad Americans will be strong. The Russians will be absent, which can be an advantage,” says Žerava, who has already been third twice at the European Cup and competed at the World Championships.

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From left: Tomas Klinský, Adela Jůzková, Tomas Duda, and Jakub Žerava..

The last Winter Games scheduled for Lucerne, Switzerland, were cancelled in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, and the last time the team competed was in Krasnoyarsk 2019. Then, the Czech team brought home six medals, including one gold, won by cross-country skier Petra Hynčicová. Three medals (two silver and one bronze) were won by biathletes, and medal tally was completed by bronzes from ski orienteering and skicross. Players on the Czech hockey team finished third in their regular group, with only two teams advancing straight to the semi-finals of the play-offs.

“This time we would like a a shot at a medal,” Jaroslav Liška, the coach of the men's hockey team, says. He has a roster of 23 players, mostly from the third highest hockey competition and several players from the first league, the captain of the team will be defender Tomáš Duda from Slavia Praha. The roster originally included four students from Charles University, but Petr Ton will not take part due to injury. “This year I have to praise the approach of all the clubs that have released players to us. For a lot of guys it is a unique opportunity to wear the national jersey and it will be the highlight of their career,” Liška explains.

The Czech women's hockey players will undoubtedly experience the peak of their careers as well, as they will be competing at the University Games for the first time in history. “We have been waiting for this for a long time. We are really looking forward to it, and we hope to  succeed," says Adéla Jůzková, who plays in the Swedish league for Södertälje and is still doing her Master's studies at CU. “It's challenging, and in the first semester I'm neglecting my Applied Sports Science course a bit, but I'm trying to catch up. Hockey is my first priority now, also because of the university games,” admits the player, who is also part of the women's national team.

Charles University students competing at the 2023 World University Winter Games:

Kristýna Otcovská biathlon Faculty of Medicine in Plzeň
 Kryštof Zatloukal cross-country skiing Faculty of Physical Education and Sport
Dominik Arnošt hockey  Faculty of Physical Education and Sport
Štěpán Turek hockey Faculty of Physical Education and Sport
Jakub Wojnar hockey  Faculty of Physical Education and Sport
Adéla Jůzková  hockey  Faculty of Physical Education and Sport
Zuzana Martinů  hockey  First Faculty of Medicine
Tereza Mazancová hockey  Faculty of Physical Education and Sport
Barbora Patočková hockey  Faculty of Physical Education and Sport
Natalie Mullen snowboarding Faculty of Education
Jakub Žerava snowboarding Faculty of Physical Education and Sport
Radek Fajkus speed skating Faculty of Physical Education and Sport

During the games, you can follow the results at, online broadcasts at Reports will also be regularly broadcast on Czech Television on the channel CT Sport.


The history of the University Games began in the early 1920s. In 1923, the then Sports Committee of the International Confederation of Students organised the so-called World University Games (International Universities Championship) in Paris, and ten countries took part in the first edition, with a programme consisting only of athletics events. By 1939, not only eight more summer events but also six winter global events had been organised. In 1946, the International Union of Students (IUS) was founded in Prague, and a year later the IUS organised the ninth edition of the World University Games in Paris. The eighth World University Winter Games were then held in Davos. The year 1948 brought an organisational split, mainly for political and power reasons. This led to the creation of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
From 1949 to 1956, the IU and FISU organised international competitions separately. The name "Universiade", as a combination of the words "University" and "Olympics", first appeared in 1959, when the Summer Games were held in Turin, Italy. Since 1959, the Summer Universiade has been held, and since 1960, the Winter Universiade. Since 1981, the Summer and Winter Games have always been held in the same year. Since 2020, when FISU introduced its new logo and the new image of the world federation, the Universiade has been renamed the World University Games. The last Winter Universiade was in Krasnoyarsk, Russia in 2019 and the Summer Universiade was held in Naples, Italy in the same year. This year, the Summer Games are expected to be held in Chengdu, China. There are restrictions for the competitions - athletes must have a valid university certificate and must be no older than 25 for the Winter Games, while athletes can compete in the Summer Games up to the age of 27.
Author: Jiří Novák
Photo: ČAUS,, Shutterstock

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