KAZAN – Everyone will agree, the Opening Ceremony of the 27th Universiade in Kazan was phenomenal. However, when the artistic performance of dancers and singers on the scene, supported by advanced technical ingenuity is of such a high calibre we sometimes tend to forget the meaning and power of words. As the ‘dust’ has settled now, we take the opportunity to highlight the speech of FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien at this magnificent opening. As the FISU President likes to emphasize it as often as he can, FISU is more than sport. You will find once more the proof in the words of his the opening speech.
‘What a great honour and pleasure it is for all the FISU Family to be here today!
– Here in Russia, the heartland of Afro-Eurasia, turned toward new horizons and making the future of its youth a national priority;
– Here in Tatarstan, a unique melting pot of different civilisations, nations, religions and cultures, and a major trading platform on the Great Silk Road.
– Here in Kazan, this beautiful city that has continuously redefined itself throughout history, and opened doors and windows to offer hospitality to guests from all around the world.
By hosting the 27th Summer Universiade, Kazan is in fact welcoming THE major international multi-sport event of the year 2013, THE largest gathering of student-athletes from the five continents ever organised in history.
Some 14,000 sports people representing nearly 160 countries will be living together in the fantastic Athletes’ Village. Among them 10,000 student-athletes will compete at the highest level in 27 different sports, in the most splendid venues.
Two fantastic weeks of sports performance, shows and shared happiness!
However, the Universiade is more than a few days of sport, entertainment and shared happiness.
The Universiade is an AMBITION.
The aim of Kazan is to contribute to the construction of an educational, cultural and ethical project for the harmonious development of body and mind, social integration and civic engagement of young people in Russia and the world.
The Universiade is a WILL.
In six years of hard work, Kazan has demonstrated that it has the political will, economic potential, human resources and technological capabilities to become a hub of sport in Russia, also capable of organizing major international competitions.
The Universiade is a DREAM.
When we dream alone, it is only a dream, when we dream with others, it is already a reality. We are thousands in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia and around the world, having dreamed of this 27th Universiade!
And today in this beautiful setting, the dream is becoming a reality.
In his verses, great Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukay had well anticipated the reality of the Universiade:
“Like birds that in strong wind dart away from their familiar spots and shoot upwards high in the sky shining with their skill and might!”…
Student-athletes will rush into the stadiums, gymnasiums and swimming pools. Not only will they fight fiercely for themselves, for their university, for their country and, of course, for a medal; they will also realise that the competition or the medal is not as important as the metaphorical journey accomplished to the achievement of such results in Kazan, and that the experiences or emotions gained are the true reward.
My dear Friends, we are about to experience two wonderful weeks of sportsmanship, friendship and sharing, which will be part of the best memories of your life as an athlete, a student, a volunteer, a coach, an educator, or a spectator.
For this marvellous gift, salute to Universiade, together:
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
I now invite the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin, to open the Games.”