President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,
I am sincerely delighted to welcome all guests and participants of the International Forum Russia – Country of Sports.
The tradition of holding this forum was laid precisely here in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, in 2009: the Republic, whose residents love sports, prioritises the development of modern and most advanced infrastructure, building unique stadiums and facilities, as well as accessible and convenient sports facilities in rural areas, for schools and universities, and also in courtyards. Today, sports and a healthy lifestyle have become a powerful consolidating force for residents of Tatarstan, as well as a real resource for the development of this country.
Since its inception, the Forum Russia – Country of Sports has become an influential and highly popular venue for bringing together the leaders of the sports movement, for exchanging experience between representatives of international and Russian sports organisations, athletes and coaches.
I would like to separately thank the Forum’s guests from abroad for their cooperation and interaction. This open and professional dialogue serves the interests of developing sport and helps to strengthen mutual respect and trust in the global sports community. And the implementation of proposals that will be drafted at the Forum, will become a weighty contribution to achieving this country’s large-scale goals.
We must create all the required conditions, so that as many Russian citizens as possible are able to systematically engage in sports and physical fitness. Their number should reach at least 70 percent by 2030. It goes without saying that we will focus on children and teenagers. By engaging in sports at this age, they are more likely to acquire healthy habits and highly important moral values. We must create the required opportunities for those wishing to take up sports all over Russia.
We will conduct a detailed discussion of our subsequent steps in this area at a meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Fitness and Sport in the next few days. The meeting will prioritise the development of sports for children and young people.
Brilliant victories, the successful and unforgettable performance of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Tokyo have proved convincingly once again that Russia is a real sports power. Our athletes continue this country’s outstanding and glorious traditions in a worthy manner, and the guests of international competitions, being hosted by Russia, always note the high organisational standards and hospitable atmosphere.
Over these days, Kazan is the venue of the First Games of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). I would like to wish every success to everyone taking part, and I would like to add that Tatarstan has accumulated substantial and positive experience when it comes to holding major world-class sports events, including the 27th Summer Universiade in 2013, the 16th FINA World Championships in 2015, and matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Certainly, this immensely rich experience, including that of popularising and developing sports, deserves to be studied and spread throughout this country and beyond.
I wish you all every success and fruitful discussions. I am confident that the Forum will be the start of new interesting projects.