The Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games has been delayed until 2023 ©Chengdu 2021

Organisers of next year's delayed Chengdu 2021 International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Games have been provided a boost by the easing of international travel restrictions to China.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on China's ability to stage sporting events, with Chengdu 2021 twice postponed to new dates of July 28 to August 8 2023.

Despite the tough restrictions in China, FISU officials had remained confident that the event will be able to take place next year, although Acting President Leonz Eder admitted earlier this month more clarity was needed on how athletes and officials from across the globe could travel to Chengdu.

The Chengdu 2021 Organising Committee presented its report to the FISU Executive Committee at its meeting here in Belgium's capital Brussels, coinciding with an announcement of 20 measures by the Chinese Government to ease its "zero-COVID" policy.

These include international arrivals only being required to produce one negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours of boarding rather than two, a reduction in quarantine upon arrival from 10 to eight days and an end to the tracing of close contacts of close contacts.

FISU secretary general Eric Saintrond said that this represented "good news", and that he had been reassured by the update from Chengdu 2021.

"We were a bit concerned because of the quarantine and so on, but now what we receive from the Chinese is only good information, and I believe every month it will be better for us and for our membership to come," the Belgian official told insidethegames.

"Let's see what they will decide because it is not under our control.

"If they waive all those tests and obligations to have a charter flight, it will be great for our people because to organise charter flights is easy from a hub, but we have to go to the hub which can be quite complicated and expensive because we do not have a hub on all continents."

FISU secretary general Eric Saintrond said the organisation had received
FISU secretary general Eric Saintrond said the organisation had received "good information" on the prospects of Chengdu 2021 taking place ©FISU

Chengdu 2021's deputy director of its external liaison department Wang Guangliang was among the officials who reported to the FISU Executive Committee.

He told insidethegames that the Government announcement could provide participants with greater confidence in the successful staging of the event.

"I think not only for us but for all participants, there will be more options to come to Chengdu easier, lower costs, more flexibility, that is very helpful," Wang said.

Wang also vowed that the Organising Committee would offer its assistance with regards to travel to Chengdu.

"Last year we would be using more flights organised by the organisers, but with the more and more regular commercial flights, there would be more choices so with the increasing number of flights to China and to Chengdu, I think we are more confident that they will have more choices, especially for some of the nations who will find it much easier to take regular commercial flights," he said.

"We will help them with all the travel to try to help them to move [past] more difficulties that they might encounter from pre-departure to travel and back to their home."

Wang referenced the "very successful" staging of the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Chengdu in September and October, which marked the first major international sporting event held in China since the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, as a further confidence boost and a "rehearsal for the World University Games".

He added that delays to the event had brought both benefits and challenges for organisers.

Wang Guangliang said that the World Team Table Tennis Championships which concluded in Chengdu last month was
Wang Guangliang said that the World Team Table Tennis Championships which concluded in Chengdu last month was "very successful" ©Getty Images

"You can look at things in two sides," Wang reflected.

"One side is that you have more time for preparation of the Games, and then that means you can refine your plans, you can have more time thinking about it, optimise, update, upgrade, and with the time moving on you have an easier situation.

"That's the good side.

"Of course everything has a down side, and it means it costs more money and you have to keep all the venues and the whole team stable.

"You have a budget for two years and now it has been extended.

"But otherwise you have more time for the publicity of the city."

Wang concluded that organisers in Chengdu "are ready" to host the Games next year.