Summer Universiade - Putin: Preparations going smoothly

Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed preparations for the Summer Universiade in Kazan are progressing according to plan.

Summer Universiade  - Putin: Preparations going smoothly

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

Putin's endorsement for the Games came in a speech delivered at a meeting of the Presidential Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sports at the Universiade Village.

"I think that Kazan is gradually becoming the sports capital of Russia," Putin said. "Grandiose construction is proceeding apace, in any case everything is proceeding according to plans, and I must say that this is impressive."

He said that 27 out of 29 competition venues had already been commissioned, with some of them able to host competitions at the very highest international levels in the future.

Putin highlighted the Kazan Arena Stadium, which is being built in accordance with FIFA requirements for five-star category stadiums.

"Naturally, it will be ready for the 2013 University Games and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. I remember how in the summer of 2010, it seems just a short time ago, we laid the foundation stone and started building. Now it is almost ready, there are only a few unfinished things," Putin said.

"In general, the Universiade has made it possible to upgrade the sports facilities in Kazan’s universities, bring the development of university sports to a totally new level and, of course, trigger interest to sports among our young people.

"The Universiade is a celebration for the entire nation. It is important that as many students and representatives from the regions as possible be able to watch the competition and cheer for our team. I would ask you to address this issue very carefully indeed and help resolve all organisational problems."

The President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, also spoke at the meeting to deliver a report on the host city's preparations. He pointed out that Kazan's bid to host the World University Games only became viable because of Putin's support.

A total of 228 billion roubles have been allocated from federal and republican budges which, along with investor's funds will help erect competition venues and develop the transport infrastructure and support facilities in the build-up to the 2013 Summer Universiade.

Sixty-four state-of-the-art multipurpose venues, including 29 newly-built competition venues and the Universiade Village, will be put to use during the Games.

Minnikhanov noted that the new sports infrastructure has increased the number of Kazan residents who regularly exercise and play sports by 50 per cent.

"The sports infrastructure built for the Summer Universiade is among the best ones in the country, and, of course, it should work and bring results," Minnikhanov said.

He was also quick to praise the work done on the transport infrastructure in and around Kazan.

The airport is being overhauled, a project was implemented to arrange intermodal transportations from the airport to the city centre, and three new underground stations with a total length of 5.1 km are being built. Eight out of 11 multi-level interchanges have already been opened for regular traffic.

During the Games, Kazan hotels will be able to accommodate 20,000 people at a time, with 15 more hotels of more than 2,000 beds at the stage of completion.

"Our ultimate goal is to stage the Universiade at the highest level possible," Minnikhanov said. "I believe that thanks to the work done the 2013 Summer Universiade will become one of the most memorable Games in the history of FISU, and the Universiade legacy will bring long-term benefits to our people."

Putin added: “We need to make a finishing effort – to complete everything that is not finished yet and finalise everything connected with the infrastructure. And of course, we expect our athletes to perform well."

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