The message reads, in part:
“It is a pleasure to welcome you at the opening of the World Speed Skating Championship, which is to be held in the ancient Russian town of Kolomna this year.
Russia by right has the honour to host this prestigious and important competition. Interest in this dynamic spectator sport has always been high in this country. We are proud of the galaxy of our world-class athletes, who took part in the most prestigious international tournaments and championships. It is a pleasure that speed skating has been developing in Russia of late, with the building of up-to-date ice palaces and stadiums, and talented young people taking up this sport.
I am certain that the numerous fans at the championship will witness beautiful and exciting battles that only the best are capable of demonstrating.”
Speed skaters from 28 countries will compete in Kolomna in the 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000-metre races among men and the 500, 1,000, 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000-metre events among women. There will also be team races and a mass start.