The year 2013 was marked by an important event of international significance: the XXVII Summer Student Games were held from 6th to 17th July in Kazan (Tatarstan, Russia). 11759 university athletes from 160 countries participated in 27 sports, making the Universiade-2013 the biggest ever in the history. A total of 351 sets of medals were distributed during two weeks of the competition.
THE DECISION ON HOLDING Summer Universiade-2013 in Kazan was taken by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) on May 31, 2008 in Brussels. Besides Russia, other countries applied for the 2013 Summer Universiade, but by 20 votes of the total of 27 the right to host the Universiade was conferred to Kazan — one of the oldest and the most beautiful cities of Russia.
A year earlier, on August 23, 2011, at the closing ceremony of the XXVI World Summer Universiade in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, the flag of the International University Sports Federation was officially passed to the representatives of the Russian Federation. The mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin took up the relay from Shenzhen officials.
The population of the Republic of Tatarstan considered the Universiade as extremely important, exciting and having a great historical significance. It also required a high level of responsibility and the mobilization of all resources, as the Republic hosted a sporting event of such scale for the first time. No doubt today that the Republic has coped with this task perfectly well.
University sports movement has almost a centuries-old history, but the name of "Universiade" appeared only in 1959, when the international Union of students (IUS) and the International University Sports Federation (FISU) held the first world student games in Turin.
The Universiade is a major international sporting event where winners are honored by Gaudeamus — student anthem, instead of national anthems. This fact has a particular importance, as the motto of the XXVII Universiade consists of words having universal value: Science — Sport — Friendship — Peace. The significance of such a mass youth movement is undeniable: it involves all continents, promotes the development of science, sports, calls for friendship and peace all over the world. Hence, it appears such a serious attitude to the event shown by the organizers of all levels, by all progressive-minded people. Youth — students and postgraduate students — directly participated in the Universiade, both as athletes and as volunteers representing major University centers.
Nowadays the World University Games are the second largest sporting event in the world by participation and by significance, after Olympiads. Organizational activities are carried on by the International University Sports Federation, composed of 141 member-countries. Russia is represented by the Russian Student Sports Union.
Winter Universiades are held in even years, and Summer Universiades — in odd years. The geography of these youth competitions is broad; in 1973 they were held in Moscow.
Venues of the Universiade-2013
A large number of new venues was constructed in Kazan for the Universiade-2013 purposes, including unique ones, which have no analogues not only in Russia but worldwide. They are: the Universiade Village designed to host nearly fifteen thousand guests, the opening/closing ceremonies stadium "Kazan Arena" (45,000 seats), Aquatics Palace, Tennis Academy, "Ak Bars" Combat Sports Center, "Saint Petersburg" Volleyball Center, Center of Boxing and Table tennis, Gymnastics Palace, Rowing Center at the Sredny Kaban lake. Of course, considering the uniqueness and the grandeur of these constructions, the costs of the Universiade in Kazan were brought much higher than the cost of the previous Universiade in China. However, investments were worth it fully: the sports facilities will be consigned over to children and youth sport schools, and will be used for various sports activities, including international competitions. It will contribute to the development of mass sport in the Republic of Tatarstan, as well as abroad.
The Universiade Village merits to be mentioned apart. Such large-scale events could not be organized without this kind of facilities.
The Universiade village represents a beautiful city constructed specifically for the Summer Universiade-2013 in the southern part of Kazan with the purpose to house competitors, guests and officials. The International Administrative and Information Centre, as well as the first in the world Museum of Universiades were also located in the Village. The campus was built in 2010. Since it opened its doors, nearly 400 sporting and cultural events have been staged here, including international football, volleyball and chess championships. The Universiade organizers and the authorities of the Republic made all possible to provide participants with comfortable and safe living conditions: the Village has all necessary infrastructure, its perimeter is safely fenced and the access is strictly controlled. The largest pavilion ever built in Russia was also erected within the Village. Its area was 12,000sq. m. The restaurant situated in the pavilion offered a huge variety of dishes including specialties of national Tatar cuisine.
Despite the fact that the Village was built in advance, its inauguration took place only on June 29, 2013. The ceremony was attended by the President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, the mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin, the RF Minister of sports Vitaly Mutko and the President of the Russian student Union Oleg Matitsin.
All the hotels of the city of Kazan were used to house participants and guests of the Universiade. The number of visitors was so enormous that even cruise ships standing in the port were mobilized for their accommodation.
"Kazan-arena" is another great modern sports facility where the opening/closing ceremonies and major competitions of the Universiade-2013 were held. The stadium is designed for 45 thousand spectators; it covers an area of 133,000 sq. m. The convertible arena is the unique of its kind and has a design that meets all modern requirements.
Speaking about newly constructed venues of the Universiade-2013, the epithet «unique» can be used without any exaggeration.
To ensure comfortable transportation of competitors, guests and thousands of spectators, prior to the Universiade, a large number of transport infrastructure elements were newly constructed or renewed. Kazan International Airport was totally rebuilt as a hub, the new Kazan-2 transit rail-bus terminal was built, the old Kazan-1 rail terminal was reconstructed. The key transportation connector to the sporting and other venues — the Kazan Metro (subway) was expanded; new LRT (fast tram) line was constructed, the fast rail aero-express was inaugurated between the Kazan-1 rail terminal downtown and the airport. Zones of activity of the Universiade were connected by 23 highways of 65km total length with 11 two-level flyovers and 41 crosswalks. 63 streets were renovated.
During the Universiade, the public transport was free. Additional transport services and connections were organized for the Games opening and closing days to the main stadium «Kazan-arena». A special fleet of buses, minibuses and cars was assigned to serve participants and spectators. In addition, on the eve of the Universiade, double-deck tour buses circulated in the center of Kazan; a large network of bicycle rental stations was provided as well. In general, the transport service of the Universiade was thought out and calculated so that to provide convenient and comfortable connections not only to the main stadium where sport events passed, but also to many other direction, to permit visiting of this beautiful historic city's sights.
It is appropriate to add that, for the first time in the history of the Universiade, a Cultural Universiade was also included in the program with many festivals and shows held simultaneously with the Tatar national festivity called Sabantuy, the largest in the Republic. It was really great, because guests had the opportunity to get acquainted with ethnic culture and traditional arts, to feel the hospitality of the population of Kazan, to taste gourmet Tatar holiday meals. The Cultural Park of the Universiade was animated by the performances of the famous Cirque du Soleil; numerous festivals of culture and art took place in the Palace square.
During the games, the order was insured by 24 thousand policemen, who patrolled the streets, public and competition places and guarded 62 sports facilities; 400 outfits and 300 posts of traffic police surveyed road safety.
Uni, a kitten rendering of the symbolic winged snow leopard, was chosen as the mascot for the Kazan 2013 Summer Universiade. The winged snow leopard is the national symbol of the Republic of Tatarstan represented on its coat of arms. It is also particularly valuable historical symbol of the times of Bulgarian tsars.
The logo of the Universiade takes its origin from the image of a tulip, symbolizing the five continents, with relevant text in Latin.
The slogan of the Universiade was «You are the World», which has two meanings: «You are the world» or «Universiade is the world».
According to the tradition, the Universiade is preceded by the Flag relay and the Torch relay. The purpose of these actions is the involvement into mass sports movement of the greatest possible number of young people from all over the world.
The FISU Flag relay celebrations took place in 16 major student cities of Russia. The length of the relay was more than 6, 000 km.
The Torch relay of the Universiade-2013 was the most ambitious in the history of FISU and was held in two stages: the Flame visited all five continents, and involved 27 major University centers of the Russian Federation, bringing sport holiday with it. These are Khabarovsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, Izhevsk, Perm, Ufa, Orenburg, Samara, Ulyanovsk, Saratov, Penza, Saransk, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary, Yoshkar-Ola, Kirov, Rostov-on-don, Stavropol, Pyatigorsk, Sochi, Arkhangelsk, Saint-Petersburg, Moscow and Kazan.
The torch relay started on May 20, 2012 and ended in Kazan, where the Universiade Cauldron was lit on July 6, 2013 during the opening ceremony of the Student Games. Within 365 days, 2013 torchbearers crossed 54 cities of the world making up 150,000km.
Preparation activities for the Universiade in Kazan lasted for several years. There was so much to think over, so much to manage to do. For that reason, the countdown started a year before, displayed on the clock installed on a stele specially constructed for this purpose in the central Tukaya square of Kazan.
Starting from 2012, special booths were installed everywhere around the city to sell souvenirs with symbols of the Universiade, an on-line shop was also opened.
Tickets began to be sold long before the Universiade; tickets for the opening ceremony had been sold out already by May. In general, sales of tickets established an unprecedented record.
Medals represent an important attribute of any sport competition. Their design and quality are also important.
A total of 351 sets of medals were distributed during the two weeks of the Universiade-2013, their total number made 3014.
Note should be taken that the medals of Kazan Universiade were larger by diameter and thickness than the rewards of the previous Universiade. Their design was also very interesting: the medal featured a globe emblazoned with the logo of the Universiade, and surrounded by a circle featuring the slogan of the Universiade, all this turning inside a grill in the form of Earth parallels and meridians.
Medals were cast in St. Petersburg mint "Goznak" made of copper-nickel alloy coated with gold, silver or bronze (depending on value). The execution of this important order took six months: from minting up to the manual assembly and polishing.
Ambassadors and volunteers
Famous athletes, among them winners of the Universiade-2011, actors, singers and public figures were selected ambassadors of the Universiade-2013.
The premium group was composed of the winners of the all-Russian contest "Faces of the Universiade".
53 Universities kindly provided their volunteers and became partners of the Universiade-2013. The total number of volunteers reached 20,000, with 4,000 of them only from Russia.
The Organizing Committee of the Universiade was headed by the first Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
Some 1,200 journalists from 170 countries were accredited to give coverage of sporting events in Kazan, with the same number of technical staff.
General and other sponsors and partners of the Universiade were Hyundai, MegaFon, Ak Bars Bank, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Aeroflot, SOGAZ, Tissot, Autoradio, Komsomolskaya Pravda and others.
Universiade Opening ceremony
The majestic opening ceremony of the Summer Universiade-2013 took place on July 6, 2013 at the «Kazan-arena» stadium in the presence of 45 thousand spectators, participants and guests.
The ceremony was attended by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President of FISU Claude-Lu Gallien, leaders of Tatarstan and Kazan. About four thousand people and more than a thousand volunteers were involved in this spectacular performance. 30 big and more than 200 small decorations were manufactured for the festivities, more than 2 thousand costumes and other festive details were made by a hundred of top artists, designers, cutting and sewing masters.
The event started with the colorful fancy-dress procession of participants of the show; they demonstrated the multi-ethnic Russia, the identity of regions, the diversity and originality of the national images. After the artistic show, spectators applauded participant teams passing in march-in on the main arena of the stadium with national flags of their countries.
At the second official part of the ceremony, participants were welcomed by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. He said in his speech,
«... Friends! You represent different countries and continents, but in these days of July, you have been united by the World Summer Universiade, which can easily be compared with the Olympic games by scale.
We endeavored best efforts so that participants of this event feel at home and could achieve outstanding results, withstand the heat of competition and difficult contest. Of course, victory comes to the strongest, but the atmosphere, the spirit of the Universiade will forever stay with each of you. You all share the love of sport, its high ideals of fair competition and camaraderie, hope for success and victory. In these solemn moments your hearts beat in unison, you together, shoulder to shoulder, are united by common feelings and general ideas.
I wish all of you to overtop yourselves, to achieve new personal records. Let those few seconds of struggle and triumph be bright and unforgettable. Let them stay with you for life. Good luck!»
The opening ceremony ended in a magnificent show «Reflection» with the participation of stars of music and theatre.
A special interest of spectators was drawn to the main arena of the stadium which rotating circles were surrounded on the perimeter by water, where spectacular actions took place as well. In the center of the stage, there was a huge construction with video screens weighing 467 tons. A 6-ton Universiade Cauldron was set over the stadium.
Finally, over the stadium, against the background of fluttering flags of Russia and FISU, the flame of the Universiade blazed up brightly merging immediately with grandiose salute and fireworks that lit up the dark night sky over Kazan. A solemn start was given to the Universiade - 2013.
The results of the summer Universiade-2013
11759 athletes from 160 countries took part in the competitions of the summer Universiade-2013.
For the first time in the history of Universiades, twenty-seven sports were included in the program: 13 of them were compulsory and 14 were optional.
The optional sports were chosen rowing, badminton, boxing, belt-wrestling, canoeing, beach volleyball, rugby-7, sambo, synchronized swimming, wrestling, shooting, weightlifting, field hockey and chess. Among optional sports, belt wrestling, boxing, sambo, synchronized swimming and rugby-7 made their debut at the 2013 Summer Universiade.
Competitions were judged by 2297 referees, 824 of them were international arbiters.
Prior to the Universiade, international competitions in all 27 sports were held.
The Russian national team was numerous and well prepared, it consisted of seasoned athletes. Our team went forward from the first days, leaving other teams far behind and showing an absolute record for the number of medals won. Summing up, Russia got almost half of gold medals and more than a quarter of all quantity of medals. It was a great success, Russia won first place in the final medal table of the Universiade; China was ranked second and Japan — third. The success of our national team inspired fans, creating a special festive mood and positive attitude from the first days of the Universiade and giving hope for the victory at the forthcoming Olympic games in Sochi.
During the Student Games 67 new records of Universiades were established, 38 of which belong to the Russian sportsmen.
On July 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin met athletes who represented Russia at the Universiade-2013 and warmly congratulated them on convincing victory wishing them further success.
Our compatriots — athletes from Karachay-Cherkessia — assisted at the meeting with the Russian President too. They competed in national belt-wrestling and won 3 gold and 1 bronze medals (of total 3 gold and 2 bronze medals won by the Russian team in this sport). Here are the names of the sportsmen who made a significant contribution to the medal-box of our team: Alibek Lepshokov, Alibek Hapayev, Azamat Laypanov, Arsen Tokov. The President of Russia thanked athletes and their coaches Dahir Laypanov, Islam Hapayev. He also assured them that he would provide every support to the development of the belt-wrestling, as one of the spectacular national sports.
Competitions of the Universiade-2013 were broadcasted to 105 countries of the world by 3 Russian and 13 foreign TV channels. New telecommunication and Internet equipment was delivered to Kazan loaded on 50 trucks. The main part of this equipment will be afterwards used at the Olympics-2014 in Sochi.
The events of the Universiade were reported on the pages of the special newspaper «Bulletin of the Universiade», issued in these days. The circulation of the paper was 40,000 and it was published in Russian, English and Tatar languages.
On the occasion of such a great event in the life of the country, the Central Bank of Russia issued commemorative coins made of precious and non-precious metals dedicated to the 27th Summer Universiade Kazan 2013. They include two types of steel coins with the logo and the mascot of the Universiade for general use and commemorative golden and silver coins.
Solemn closing ceremony of the Universiade took place on July 17 at the «Kazan-arena» stadium. It was no less spectacular than the opening ceremony. The event was attended by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. In his speech, he said in particular,
«... I believe that the Universiade in Kazan marked a very worthy prelude to the Olympic games to be held in Sochi. It will be even more serious tests for the athletes, coaches, and, frankly, for our country. We should seriously try to make the Olympiad a spectacular and large-scale event, so that the Games of 2014 correspond to the spirit of the Olympic movement, to the best traditions of Russian and international sport.»
After the speeches of the official persons, spectators admired the parade of flags of the participant-countries, as well as the general march-in of athletes. Then, it was the ceremony of the descent and the transfer of the Universiade flag to the South Korean organizers of the next XXVIII Student Games, which would be held in Kwangju in 2015. The closing ceremony ended in the concert of Russian artists and pop stars that made a huge show with many decorations and special effects. The most touching and exciting moments of the competitions were shown on the giant screen of the stadium. At the end of the ceremony, a huge Ball of desires was released in the sky, containing all wishes gathered on this day among spectators at the stadium.
In these days, the new "Kazan-arena" stadium became the main sports arena. Competitions that took place on the sports grounds, the opening and closing ceremonies were transmitted to many countries, arousing admiration by its beauty and grandeur, uniting people of different nations and religions on all the continents. In fact, it was the aim of these competitions. The objective was reached owing to the efforts of the organizers, participants, volunteers, pop stars, and, of course, athletes.
Till we meet again, Kazan!
The XXVII Summer Universiade-2013 ended. But no less ambitious and responsible sport events are in store for Russia: in 2014 — Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, in 2015 — World Water Sports Championship in Kazan. And then, of course, the World Football Cup — 2018, which will be held in 11 cities of Russia, including Kazan, the city we can now rightly call one of the largest sports centers of the world.
We don't say «Good bye! », we say «Till we meet again, Kazan! »
Алла Чотчаева By