It’s the second biggest multi-sport event following the Olympics, held every two years in a different city.
Scheduled to host the games this August was the city of Chengdu, China, but due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s been pushed to next year.
Christina Ryan, 23, is one of New Zealand’s top heptathletes.
She competes in the 100 metre hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin throw and 800 metres, over two days.
Ryan made the qualifying standard just a few weeks before the games were postponed in April.
It would’ve been her first ‘silver singlet’ event, competing on a world stage.
“I didn’t get that satisfaction of getting named in the team, I think that’s probably been the hardest bit…… I haven’t actually seen my name anywhere,” she said.
A new competition date is yet to be announced, but there’s no time to waste for Ryan.
“It gives me a lot more time to try get a better score and be more competitive against those top girls… that’s how to stay motivated, just try take the positive out of the situation.”
Ryan, who is studying to be a secondary school teacher, moved from Timaru and coach Ian Baird (former coach of Tom Walsh) to Christchurch in February to work with lead Athletics New Zealand coach, Terry Lomax.
Lomax, who has been to “five or six” World University Games all over the world, describes himself as a “meticulous planner”, and sees opportunity in what could be a disheartening situation.
Lomax said the extra time was a chance to be more thorough in developing Ryan as an heptathlete.
He said with seven different events to master, it was an opportunity to get Ryan’s strongest events consistent and lift her weaker events higher.
Lomax may have a lot on his plate, but the accomplished coach is more concerned about the Games' eligibility criteria and its impact on other athletes.