Mondo adds a unique flavour to the Universiade

Konrad Bukowiecki
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Konrad Bukowiecki

International University Sports Federation President Oleg Matytsin heaped praise on the organisers of the recently concluded Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade, which became a showcase for European athletes and European Athletics Green Inspiration Partner Mondo.

"A lot of people are happy about this event here,” reflected Matystin just ahead of the closing ceremony on Sunday.

"And not only the sport but also the hospitality of the Italian people, they have demonstrated openness. Really, the motto 'To Be Unique' works, I believe works,” he added. "We are proud. We have had a great event with a good legacy, especially with the venues.”

The Games centrepiece was the famous Stadio San Paolo, which is also home to the local Napoli football club.

The world’s top student athletes were able to compete on a Mondotrack WS track – the same surface that was used for the competition track at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – across six days of competition last week,  the eighth Universiade where the athletics has been staged on a Mondo track.

In total, European athletes won 22 out of the 46 gold medals on offer. Polish shot putter Konrad Bukowiecki was the star performer with his 21.54m effort being the only Games record in the athletics.

The host nation Italy had a particularly good Games with gold medals from discus thrower Daisy Osakue, who sent her implement out to 61.49m, while Ayomide Folorunso retained her 400m hurdles title in a personal best of 54.75, 0.4 faster than she had ever run before.

Adding to the local triumphs, and much to the delight of the crowd, Roberta Bruni won the pole vault with 4.46m and Luminosa Bogliolo took the 100m hurdles in 12.79, just 0.01 outside her best.

Other notable wins from European competitors included Bulgaria’s Tihomir Ivanov and Ukraine’s Yuliya Chumachenko winning their respective high jump competitions with 2.30m and 1.94m respectively.

Azerbaijan’s 2019 Europeean indoor triple jump champion Nazim Babayev added to his tally of titles when he bounded out to 16.89m, winning by an emphatic 32cm, and Finland’s Miia Sillman improved her heptathlon best by almost 300 points to win with 6209 and move up to fourth on her national all-time list.

The Games took place in sweltering hot conditions with temperatures rising up to 35 degrees Centigrade and staying in the high 20s even late into the evening.

However, the Mondo track – with the installation finished just six weeks before due to the constraints of having Serie A league games also being played in the stadium in the preceding months – withstood all challenges.

The company's product was chosen again for a Universiade thanks to guarantees of high standards of environmental sustainability, including the lowest levels of Volatile Organic Compound emission – chemicals which evaporate at low temperatures and in some cases which can also be harmful to health and the environment – in the sports surface industry.

Mondotrack WS surfaces also have a the top layer that incorporates a three-dimensional network of purpose-made, pre-vulcanized deformable elements with controlled colour, composition and elasticity that ensure uniformity of dynamic response over the whole surface.

This feature also helps to retain the colour of the surface, even during intense use and difficult environmental conditions.

The Stadio San Paolo, as with all Mondo surfaces, had a non-directional tessellation pattern that enhances traction and surface drainage so an athlete’s shoe spikes do not need to penetrate the track surface to grip in particular dry or wet conditions, although it was certainly only the former in play last week.

Athletes can use compression spikes on this type of surface, which boost athletic performance by maximising surface deformation and reducing the time and energy expended due to spike penetration and retraction.