A video message from IOC President Thomas Bach played at the Opening Ceremony ©Taipei 2017

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach claimed the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade could be a milestone event for athletes as they look to progress their careers.

Bach made the assertion in a pre-recorded video message, which was played at the Opening Ceremony of the multi-sport event tonight.

International University Sports Federation (FISU) secretary general and chief executive Eric Saintrond had confirmed earlier that Bach was unable to attend the event due to the IOC's packed agenda.

It will replicated the Almaty 2017 Winter Universiade, where a video was also shown.

Bach opened his message by joking about his own experience of competing at the Universiade, quipping that it was "just a few short years ago".

The German, who participated at the Moscow 1973 and Mexico City 1979 Summer Universiades in fencing, called on athletes to make the most of their opportunity in Taipei.

“The next few days will be an unforgettable experience for all of you," he said.

“I still remember very well the excitement you feel just before competition begins, but even so more after the competition.

“I wish the athletes all the very best, this is your time to shine in the sport you love.

“This is the time to make new friends from all around the world, so make the most of this fantastic experience.

“For many of you this Universiade will be a milestone for you in a future career in sport.

“I can only encourage you to continue on this path and, who knows, maybe we will see some of you are the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“Please, always compete in the spirit of friendship and fair play, because becoming a champion is about so much more than winning.”

IOC Executive Board member CK Wu, second left, represented Thomas Bach at the Opening Ceremony ©Taipei 2017
IOC Executive Board member CK Wu, second left, represented Thomas Bach at the Opening Ceremony ©Taipei 2017

Bach is being represented by IOC vice-president Ugur Erdener of Turkey and IOC Executive Board member C K Wu at the Summer Universiade.

Erdener was present at the FISU Gala, which was held yesterday, while Wu is from the host nation Taiwan.

The latter is attending the event despite the ongoing disputes in the International Boxing Association, which he serves as President.

Wu was seen alongside FISU President Oleg Matytsin during this evening's Opening Ceremony.

Swiss International Olympic Committee member Patrick Baumann is expected to attend the final days of the Universiade.

Baumann is President of the Global Association of International Sports Federations, the umbrella body formerly known as SportAccord, and secretary general of the International Basketball Federation.

He showed his support for the Universiade by tweeting a message featuring an official advert for the multi-sport event.

insidethegames understands International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Morinari Watanabe is also due to attend some of the Universiade.

The Taipei Stadium hosted the Ceremony, which was briefly delayed by protests.

Popstar Wang Leehom was among the performers at the event, which featured three different cultural performances, aiming to present the story of Taiwan.

'Vibrant Island' depicted the various culture and tribes of Taiwan, 'Hybrid Taipei' reveals the urban image of the city while 'Global Tribe' will convey the digital era.

The climax of the Ceremony saw the arrival of the flame into the stadium, where it was used to light the Universiade Cauldron.

The torch relay for Taipei 2017 began in June in the Italian city of Turin, before overseas stops have been held in Naples, Bangkok and Daegu.

It arrived in Taiwan in early July for the domestic leg, with the flame visiting Mount Jade, the highest mountain on the island, before travelling through 21 cities and counties across the country.