BELGRADE, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The World University Games came to a successful close on Sunday after 12 days of fierce competition with China finishing second behind Russia in the battle for the most gold medals won.
The Serbian organizers have gone through the global financial crisis and the threat of A/H1N1 flu to deliver their promise of hosting a great Games.
"I wish to thank the organizing committee, and in particular the volunteers. Without you, we could not survive," FISU president George Killian said before officially declaring the games close at a ceremony held at the Belgrade Arena.
Killian added that these Games was full of "the spirit of respect, fair play and understanding."
The final overall medals table read Russia on 27 golds, followed by China on 22 and South Korea on 21. Japan was fourth on 20 golds but had the second largest number of medals - 73.
China, who only brought a small part of its top athletes to Belgrade, could be content with a runner-up finish in the gold medal standings after reaping 22 golds, 21 silvers and 15 bronzes.
"We have performed better than what we expected," said a Chinese delegation official. "This is not our best team."
Among China's 22 gold medals were a sprinkling of their top performers.
The Chinese team's star was Beijing Olympic champion Jiang Yuyuan, who claimed three golds in artistic gymnastics.
Reigning Olympic champion Evgeniya Kanaeva emerged as the most decorated athlete at the biennial sports gala as she took five gold medals in rhythmic gymnastics.
The athletics program was less competitive without the entry of a number of leading nations like the United States, Britain, Jamaica and Kenya, nevertheless in few events there was a world class participation, like Olympic champion Nelson Eovra in triple jump and Ariane Friedrich in the high jump.
The Japanese swim team, which boasts of world record holder Sakai Shiho and Asian Games champion Ryosuke Irie, and the U.S. dominated the pool as they won 10 gold medals apiece in the pool.
Again, the World University Games were free of doping scandals as the organizing committee said that all the 507 drug tests turned negative.
But the University Games, which involved more than 8,000 student athletes competing in 15 sports, sparked little interest in Serbia. Most events were poorly attended, despite ticket prices being as low as 100 dinara (about 1.58 U.S. dollars).
The next Universiade will be held in Shenzhen, China in 2011.