KAZAN, July 6 (Itar-Tass) - A round-the-world Universiade Torch Relay race may become a tradition, International University Sports Federation (FISU) Vice President Oleg Matytsin said.
He carried the torch of the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan on Saturday, July 6.
Matytsin said he was happy to “be a part of a big team that brought the Flame from the Sorbonne to Kazan” carrying it across five continents and more than 100 cities.
“We are proud that this idea was proposed by Russia and Kazan. I want to thank FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien and the Organisation’s Executive Committee for supporting our proposal. I hope this format will become a tradition,” Matytsin said.
Gallien said FISU would recommend that Kazan’s suit be followed by the hosts of the future Summer Games to make them just as bright and memorable for two years between the events.
“Let this Flame warm up all guests of our big sport holiday, give the joy of communication and burn for a long time, lighting up the hearts of those who welcome student sport,” Matytsin said.
Earlier in the day, the Torch was carried through Kazan to the walls of its ancient Kremlin.
The final leg of the race started in the Universiade Village whereby the torch was passed on by 53 persons, including First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko who handed over the torch to Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov. Tennis player Anastasia Myskina was the last one to carry the torch.
The race was supported by a large number of volunteers, guests and local residents, mainly students. The last several dozen metres of the race was run in the warm summer rain, which only added more fun and excitement.
The Flame was ignited on June 15, 2012 at Paris’ Sorbonne which hosted the first international student games in 1923. The torch then travelled around the world aboard the sailing vessel Sedov. On July 15, during a major international regatta, the torch was handed over to a team of cadets - the keepers of the Universiade Flame.
The barque with the Flame sailed for 45,000 nautical miles and repeated the voyage undertaken by the greatest travellers.
On Russian Students’ Day, January 25, the Russian stage of the Torch Relay Race started. Moving westward from the east of the country, the torch travelled through 30 major student centres, Khabarovsk, Yakutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, Arkhangelsk, Stavropol, Pyatigorsk, Sochi, Rostov on Don, St. Petersburg, Vladimir, Moscow, Perm, Izhevsk, Kirov, Nizhny Novgorod, Yoshkar Ola, Cheboksary, Ulyanovsk, Saransk, Penza, Saratov, Samara, Orenburg, and Ufa.
The race then continued across 43 municipalities in Tatarstan. The Flame was transported on planes, trains, cars, roller skates, bikes, sleds, and sailed on the water. And all this in order to illuminate the hearts of millions of students around the world
The Universiade Flame will be lit from the torch during the opening ceremony at Kazan Arena at 21:30 on Saturday, July 6.