Officials from 79 National University Sports Federations attended a heads of delegation spring meeting in preparation for the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games ©Chengdu 2021

Canada has announced its withdrawal from the 2021 International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Games in Chengdu over safety concerns.

The country's university sports organisation U SPORTS pulled out its delegation from Chengdu 2021, citing health and safety concerns surrounding the event, with its decision coming just after heads from 95 National University Sports Federations met with organisers to discuss preparations.

"Canada is a proud FISU member, but U SPORTS is not prepared to send a delegation to this summer's World University Games in Chengdu," said the organisation's interim chief executive Dick White.

"We have consulted national sports organisations and universities to assess scheduling, financial and the health and safety implications of participation in the Games and determined that it was in Canada's best interest to withdraw at this time."

The announcement of Canada's withdrawal came just after a heads of delegations meeting, which also consisted of representatives from FISU and the Executive Committee of the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games, focused on 14 areas, including COVID-19 prevention and control, medical services and visa and international transportation.

Hao Ping believes Chengdu 2021 can learn from the Beijing 2022 Olympics ©Getty Images
Hao Ping believes Chengdu 2021 can learn from the Beijing 2022 Olympics ©Getty Images

Other key topics of the three-session meeting were sports and doping control, accreditation, arrival and departure, rate card, delegation spectating services, transportation, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, cultural activities, accommodation, delegation services, and food and beverage.

Despite Canada's withdrawal, organisers remained upbeat that the event would be able to take place safely.

"Although the pandemic situation remains grim, we are fully confident and prepared that we will be able to host the Games as scheduled," said Hao Ping, the President of the Federation of University Sports of China, President of Peking University and vice-president of the Organising Committee of the Chengdu 2021 FISU Games.

He added "we will learn from the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games" and said concerns raised during the meeting would be discussed.

There is just over 100 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, scheduled for June 26.

The Games are set to close on July 7.