With just under 100 days to go until the 2017 World University Summer Games, Great Britain’s athletes are gearing up to make the event one of the biggest yet.

Held biennially in major cities across the globe the World University Games (WUGs) sees athletes come together to compete across numerous sports, with the Summer Universiade the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics.

This year’s event will be staged in Taipei from August 19-30 with almost 10,000 participants, from over 170 countries, expected to compete.

At the last Games held in Gwangju, South Korea, Team GBR recorded its biggest medal haul in ten years, with 12 per cent of athletes medalling – a total of 11 podium finishes split between three gold, four silver and four bronze.

Team GBR will be looking to achieve further greatness in 2017 with its largest delegation since 2011 and an overall team of 175, including 116 athletes competing across 13 sports: archery, athletics, women’s football, golf, women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, judo, swimming, taekwondo, tennis, men’s and women’s water polo and weightlifting.

Great Britain will be led by Chef de Mission Andy Hibbert who returns to lead Team GBR for a third consecutive games.

Hibbert said: “The World University Games provide a unique opportunity for elite student athletes to participate in a multi-sport event against athletes from over 170 countries.  

“For some of our athletes this will be the pinnacle of their sporting achievement, for others this is a significant stepping stone on the performance pathway to future World Championships and Olympic Games. 

“The facilities and venues in Taiwan are superb and I look forward to supporting another generation of talented student athletes.”

Second only to the Olympics in terms of variety of competitions and the number of participating countries and athletes, the World University Games surpasses the Commonwealth Games in many sports.

Since 1956, the event has also been known as the ‘Summer Universiade’, acknowledging its’ origins from combining the words ‘University’ and ‘Olympiad’.

Great Britain has also been the host nation for the 1991 World University Games (then the World Student Games), when the event was held in Sheffield. The Games left several legacy venues including Ponds Forge, which is now host to the largest student multisport event in the UK – BUCS Nationals.

The Games have been an important part in the development pathway for numerous British athletes who used the World University Games as the perfect stepping stone, en route to competing at the Olympic Games.

The Team GB contingent who competed at Rio 2016 included 37 athletes who had participated at either a World University Games or World University Championships.

Former University of Sheffield student Jess Ennis-Hill’s first senior international competition was the 2005 World University Games in Izmir, Turkey, where she took home bronze in the heptathlon, while Rio 2016 rugby sevens silver medallist Tom Mitchell, Olympic bronze medal-winning gymnast Beth Tweddle and England international footballer Danielle Carter have all also previously appeared at the Games.

Athletes have already been selected this time around in table tennis, including Daniel Reed (University of Nottingham), Adam Harrison (University of Nottingham), Colin Dalgliesh (Robert Gordon University), Maria Tsaptsinos (University of Nottingham), Chloe Thomas (Bournemouth University) and Yolanda King (University of Nottingham).

The taekwondo team has also just been announced, including Courtney Eardley -49kg (Sheffield Hallam University), Pooja Vadhva -53kg (University of Manchester) and Jacob Barnett -74kg (Leeds Beckett University). Selection announcements for all other sports are set to be made over the coming months.

The Great Britain delegation is managed and delivered by British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), the governing body for higher education sport in the UK, on behalf of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Team GBR is supported by national governing bodies of sports (NGBs), with the level of performance dovetailing into NGB world class performance pathways.

For more information on BUCS and the team representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland, visit the BUCS website.For further information on the World University Games, visit the event website.