Asian and European countries take home the most medals from the world's biggest vocational skills contest
Golden China dominates the medals table at the end of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017
China led the winners table at the conclusion of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 on Thursday night, capturing 30 medals, including 15 gold.
Asian countries dominated what has been dubbed the “skills Olympics”, taking home 30 gold medals from the 51 different vocational skills contested at the four-day event, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
The medals were awarded in a colourful closing ceremony, as nearly 10,000 people packed the du Arena on Yas Island.
Simon Bartley, president of WorldSkills, told the competitors: “Whether you are leaving here with a medal or not you all leave here as champions, individuals who have reached higher than you could ever have imagined when you started your journey three years ago."
South Korea captured 25 medals, including eight gold, while Taiwan, which competes internationally as Chinese Taipei, went home with four gold medals.
Russia, who will host the competition in two years’ time, won 11 medals, including five gold.
Although this was the first time the world’s largest vocational skills competition had been held in the Mena region, Arab countries, including the UAE, did not feature in the main medal table. However, the UAE was awarded three medals for excellence, for reaching high scores in three skills.
The results are a window into the changing face of economic power, as reflected in manufacturing. The United States, the world’s largest economy, did not win a single medal, while Brazil took home 15, including six gold.
In Europe, Switzerland, which has a long tradition of vocational training, managed eight golds, with France capturing five. Italy, whose team is represented by the North Tyrol region, won two gold medals, while the UK’s haul of seven medals included one gold and three silver. Germany, on the hand, took just one silver and one bronze.
Of the 59 countries taking part at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, 29 went home with a medal. Liechtenstein, the smallest nation competing, won the gold for plastering, while India managed a silver and bronze, with Iran also winning bronze in plumbing.
The depth of China’s success can be measured in the variety of competitions won, ranging from baking and bricklaying to tiling and welding. China's Bia Song also won the Albert Vidal Award for the best competitor, after taking gold in the industrial mechanic millwright skill.