EUSA Insider:

University Sports Association of Poland

Founded: 1909
Current Headquarters: Warsaw
Website:                                                                                              Published 30 October 2020

Firstly, for those who do not know, please tell us a bit about your NUSA... 
The University Sports Association (AZS - Akademicki Zwiazek Sportowy) is the biggest sports students organisation in Poland, that was established in 1909. The AZS history is so great and successful and the association is nowadays also the biggest student organisation in Poland. We are very proud that our members were inter alia Halina Konopacka (discus thrower; the first Polish gold medallist ever: 1st in OG in 1928), Waldemar Baszanowski (weightlifter; 1st in OG 1964 & 1968, 4x World Champion, 6x European Champion) and Justyna Kowalczyk (cross country skier, 1st in OG 2010 and 2014, Winter Universiade multi medalist 2005 and 2007).

Can you describe some of the major events your NUSA has hosted in recent years, both national and international?
At present, the AZS has more than 40 000 members, associated in over 250 university clubs.  Every year we host international university sports competitions in Poland. The most important were two Winter Universiades in Zakopane (1993 and 2001). Poland has organised more than 30 World University Championships as well as 23 European Universities Championships. The great event awaits us in 2022, when the European Universities Games will take place in Lodz.

Every year, the Polish Universities Championships (AMP) in 30 sports disciplines are organised by AZS, with over 70 events for approximately 10 000 students. Since 2015 AZS expanded its activities to include sport for people with disabilities, establishing a competition series called the Polish Integrative Championship  (IMP) of AZS. The first round included seven sports, namely billiards, bowling, boccia, swimming, table tennis, chess, and goalball for around 400 participants.

AZS basketball

What have been some of the highlights for your NUSA in recent years?
In 2017 FISU recognized us as the best student sports federation in the world. A similar distinction was given to AZS from EUSA in 2018 as the best student sports federation in Europe.

"There has never been a year without medals for AZS athletes in international academic competitions."

How important are the EUSA events – both sporting and educational – for your NUSA?
Our athletes have much success in European Universities Championships, European Universities Games, World University Championships and at the biggest sports events for students: summer and winter Universiades. There has never been a year without medals for AZS athletes in international academic competitions. We have got already more than 600 medals in WUC, more than 500 medals in Universiades, and nearly 400 medals in EUC/EUG! These, for many of our stars, are just the beginning of their great careers.

AZS futsal celebrations

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted university sport across the world. How was your NUSA able to adapt to the situation, what activities have you still managed to organise and are there any positives you have noted from these difficult circumstances?
Due to the pandemic, the entire academic sport had to suspend its activity, but fortunately, we managed to resume activity in university sport while maintaining all safety and hygiene rules. The first competition was held in June 2020, and the entire AMP and IMP series will be held from September to November 2020.

EUSA wishes University Sports Association of Poland well for all their future endeavours, and looks forward to seeing their NUSA members and student-athletes at many of our events in future!