STAVROPOL, October 13. /TASS/. Stavropol has become the first city to welcome the flame of the 2019 Winter Universiade in Russia’s North Caucasus on Saturday.
"Our Olympic champions were responsible for the first and the final stage of the torch relay. This shows that we keep in mind our wonderful sporting traditions and are ready for new victories," the deputy chairman of the regional government, Irina Kuvaldina, said, addressing the crowd.
A total of 25 torch-bearers - athletes, community leaders, regional government officials and businessmen - carried the Universiade flame along the city's streets. Each torchbearer covered the distance of 200 meters.
1996 Summer Olympics champion in weightlifting, Andrei Chemerkin, began the torch relay, while handball player Igor Lavrov, who won the Olympic gold with his team in 2000, completed it.
After the event was over, the flame was given to the caretaker, who will deliver it to the Chechen capital Grozny, where the next stage of the relay will be held on October 20.
The 2019 Winter Universiade torch relay began on September 20 in Italy’s Turin, as it was the first city to host the Universiade in 1959. Torchbearers carried the Universiade Flame along the streets of Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Harbin (China). Moscow, Simferopol and Kaliningrad were the first Russian cities to welcome the Universiade Flame.
The torch relay will pass through 30 Russian cities and towns and arrive on March 1, 2019 in the eastern Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, where on March 2, the 29th World Winter Universiade will be declared open at a gala ceremony.