KAZAN, August 24 (Itar-Tass) —— The Universiade flag arrived in Kazan, Tatarstan, on Wednesday, August 24, making a comeback to Russia after almost 40 years.
It was last hoisted in Russia at the Moscow Universiade in 1973 and will be raised again in Kazan in 2013.
Hundreds of people, including Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, came to Kazan’s international airport to meet the flag from Shenzhen.
Kazan Mayor Ilsur Metshin carried the flag out of the plane.
“Our dream has come true. The whole world knows Kazan now,” Minnikhanov said.
Kazan is also ready for the World Student Games. Of 32 sport facilities required for the event, 28 have already been built and commissioned. The construction of the Universiade Village for 13,000 athletes is nearing completion. A total of 64 sport facilities will be prepared for the games.
Kazan has been building sport facilities since 2009. Eighteen of 36 of new facilities have already been commissioned. Another nine facilities are to be completed by the end of this year.
“We will commission the rowing canal and a water sports palace in 2011, and a football stadium in 2012,” Minnikhanov said earlier, adding that Kazan had brought design documentation for the football stadium in line with FIFA requirements because Russia will bid for hosting the world cup championship.
New FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien said Kazan is practically ready for the Games.
He expressed confidence that the Games in Kazan would go well.
About 10,000 athletes from 170 countries will compete in 13 mandatory and 13 optional sport categories, and a record number of medals – 341 – will be awarded at the World University Games 2013 in Kazan.
The Games opening ceremony will involve as many as 6,000 people.
The opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the football stadium for 45,000 seats now under construction on the bank of the River Kazanka, a tributary of the Volga. About 15,000 athletes from 170 countries and numerous guests and fans will attend.
The Universiade in Kazan will be “a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games 2014”, Minnikhanov said.
Up to 20,000 volunteers will be trained for the University Games, after which they will be engaged for the Olympic Games in Sochi.
About 15,000 athletes from 170 countries, a large number of fans and guests, and 1,500 members of the press will attend the games. They will live in the Universiade Village that includes housing, catering, health, and training facilities. The first stage of the Village will be commissioned this year.
“The construction of the Universiade Village, the first stage of which was commissioned in 2010, will be completed by September 1,” Minnikhanov said.
Kazan, which is more than 1,000 years old, remains a young city, the mayor stressed. A total of 180,000 students from 15 countries of the world study at its 30 higher educational establishments. The city is developing dynamically, and the amount of investments has grown almost fivefold over the recent years.
Major forums of the federal and international scope, world, Russian and European championships are held in the city. Kazan boasts unique sports facilities and more are under construction.
Russia hosted the World Student Games, second after Olympic games in terms of importance, in Moscow in 1973 and will host them again in Kazan in 2013.