27 September 2023 | in NUSF News
(left to right) Martin Polaschek, Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research; Hemma Angerer, Acting President Unisport Austria; Sebastian Schütze, Rector of University Vienna (photo courtesy Markus Frühmann)
On its 175th anniversary, Unisport Austria looks back at its vibrant university sports community, where students come together, and athletic excellence thrives.
In the dynamic landscape of Austrian university sports, Unisport Austria stands as a beacon of excellence. With a proud history of athletic competition and the promotion of physical fitness and health, university sports have inspired and shaped numerous generations of students. As an integral part of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research, Unisport Austria has fostered a culture of physical exercise and teamwork, leaving an indelible mark on the student community.
The history of Austrian university sports goes back to humble beginnings when the former Federal Minister of Public Instruction, Anton Freiherr von Doblhoff-Dier, established the first Austrian University Sports Institute at the University of Vienna by decree 24 September 1848. Two years later, 4 July 1850, Emperor Franz Joseph I signed the certificate of appointment of the first imperial and royal university gymnastics teacher. Over the years, university sport has evolved and become an important institution representing a large network of universities and colleges throughout Austria. Since its beginnings, it has adapted to the changing needs of students by promoting healthy lifestyles and creating opportunities for athletic achievement that continue to this day.
Activities celebrating 175 years of University Sports in Austria
Photo courtesy Markus FrühmannThe University of Vienna hosted a ceremony in the great hall where Unisport Austria Acting President Hemma Angerer presented the anniversary publication. The Federal Minister of Education, Science, and Research, Martin Polaschek, and the Rector of the University of Vienna, Sebastian Schütze, spoke to the university sports institutes who were ceremony guests. Students designed and performed the impressive musical and sports program and the commemorative publication, “175 Years of University Sport in Austria,” was also presented.
Unisport Austria took the opportunity of the anniversary to host various activities during the year. One example was a workshop on university sports that invited experts from various institutions to take a closer look at the current situation and possible future developments for university sport in Austria. Topics of discussion included development opportunities within university sports institutes, selection criteria for international competitions, and the structure and communication between stakeholders in university sport. The hosting of national Unisport Austria championships, the compatibility of studies & competitive sports, university health programs, and eSports also were discussed.
University Sport Institutes in Austria
From the historic University of Vienna to the scenic University of Graz, to the University of Innsbruck located amidst the mountains, and the University of Salzburg, each(left to right) Peter Ankner, Head of University Sports Institute Vienna; Arnolc Baca, Head of Centre for Sport Science and University Sports, University Vienna; Martin Polaschek, Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research; Hemma Angerer, Acting institute offers a rich array of sports experiences. The institutes of Leoben, Linz, Klagenfurt, and newly added at University for Continuing Education Krems, all contribute to Unisport Austria’s vibrant sports ecosystem. They are part of the biggest universities in Austria and provide courses and competitions for upwards of 465,000 students and employees in the postsecondary education sector.
With over 1,300 course instructors per semester, the University Sports Institutes are among the largest sport employers in Austria while offering 5,675 courses per academic year. Regional and local academic championships in 36 sports are also held that include 10,200 participants from across the country.
National and international competitions
National and international competitions provide a platform for students to demonstrate their sporting skills and Unisport Austria is proud to organize and support a variety of these events. In national competitive sports alone, Unisport Austria annually organizes 8-10 national championships that sees 900 athletes take part.
The dedication and skill of these athletes have led to remarkable successes on the international stage. In 2022, 94 Austrian student athletes secured an impressive medal tally of 7 gold, 11 silver, and 11 bronze medals in various competitions. Most recently in 2023, 142 student athletes represented Austria in European and international championships and won a total of 11 gold, 6 silver, and 8 bronze medals.