New Zealand Embassy, Moscow, Russian Federation
Consul visits Kazan – site of Universiade 2013
New Zealand Embassy Consul, Mark Westenra visited Kazan last week with his counterparts from the British and Canadian Embassies. They went to check out how preparations were coming along for the International University Summer Sports tournament, Universiade, which will be held there 6-17 July this year.
The Games will include a total of 27 sports (13 core sports e.g. athletics, fencing, judo and swimming; and 14 ‘guest’ sports e.g. badminton, rugby 7s, shooting & wrestling). There will be an estimated 13,500 participants in total coming from 170 countries; and the organisers estimate that possibly an additional 50,000 tourists will come to support their friends/family members and to watch the games. 20,000 multi-lingual volunteers from around the world are also being taken on to support the participants. So far, 116 New Zealanders have registered to take part in the Games.
Kazan’s population of 1.14 million is 50% Christian and 50% Muslim and so the city is dotted with colourful mosques as well as beautiful Russian Orthodox Churches. It has a vibrant student population numbering 20,000 during term time. Signage in the city is in 3 languages – English, Russian and Tatar (the latter two being the official languages of Tatarstan).
Preparations are coming along quickly for the forthcoming games. A new village has been built to accommodate the visitors and this will become permanent student accommodation after the Games. Amongst other new facilities being built for the Games are the Rubin Stadium, which will have a capacity of 45,000, for athletics and the opening & closing ceremonies; and a new ‘Aquatics Palace’ for the swimming events.
For more information on the Games and the city of Kazan, go to www.kazan2013.ru.