President of Russia Vladimir Putin: It is a pleasure to greet all of you here.
We were preparing for these competitions for almost six years, and throughout that time, we always felt your backing, your support. I would like to note that this is not an ordinary competition, as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the FISU. We are very pleased that at present this respectable international organisation is headed by our compatriot. I would like to thank you for the trust you extended him.
I would like to stress that we are closely following the development of your organisation and your new initiatives, such as the “double career”: a career in sport and a future civilian, so to say, life outside sport.
I think your latest initiative on holding some championships between university teams rather than national teams is also very interesting. It is exciting because it will add to the competitive spirit. And we are set to further support the international university sport organisation.
You may know that we have presented our bid for the 2023 Summer Universiade in Yekaterinbug. If you entrust us with holding this event, we will do everything in our power to make it a memorable and spectacular one.
I would like to express our hope that this competition will be held at the highest level. It is very important for us not only in terms of the material heritage, but primarily in terms of spiritual heritage. The spirit of sport, development based on sport, is very important for any person, especially for young people.
Thank you very much. I wish you every success!
President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Oleg Matytsin: Mr President, allow me on behalf of my colleague present here and all the Executive Committee members and the whole FISU family to thank you for the care and support of the state.
It is not only you that feel our backing: we feel your very powerful backing in supporting all the initiatives that Russia takes on and the initiatives, with which the FISU turns to Russia.
Russia sets an example for all nations that state policy should be addressed to young people, those who will have the future in their hands tomorrow. Sport is a unique school because sport means the ability to respect one’s opponent, the ability to lose, the ability to win, the ability to be in a team – the basic principles that subsequently help people succeed everywhere, whatever path they choose in life.
You were absolutely right in saying that the FISU initiative to hold competitions between universities is largely based on the Russian model of competitions. We know how many leagues, university leagues have been set up here, and how vigorously sport is being supported at universities nowadays.
Krasnoyarsk, the Siberian Federal University is certainly a positive example, a model of such attitude. We see how greatly this city has changed in slightly more than five years because a new impetus was given to youth development.
As you noted, the key heritage of the Universiade is not limited to sports facilities or social infrastructure, but lies in the spirit of the young people who are responsible for their future. We shape real patriots through this, let me reiterate this.
Of course, after you voiced your confirmation of Yekaterinburg’s bid, we look into the future with confidence and wish success to this project.
Once again, thank you very much indeed.
Vladimir Putin: I hope everyone will enjoy both the opening ceremony today and the following days of competition.
I spoke with the Governor and he told me how the city had been preparing. People were working hard and with great pleasure. I hope if Yekaterinburg wins the bid to hold the 2023 Summer Universiade, then… the Governor is also here.
Sverdlovsk Region Governor Yevgeny Kuivashev: It would be a great gift for the city’s 300th anniversary.
Vladimir Putin: I would also like to wish you an enjoyable time in Russia.
FISU First Vice President Leonz Eder:Your Excellency, Mr President,
On behalf of my colleagues, I can only say the support given by you personally and by the Russian Federation to sport in general, especially to FISU university sport, is unique in the world.
We have unforgettable memories from Kazan 2013, and we will have unforgettable experiences and memories here, I am 100 percent sure. And my question is already this, Mr President: what city will be next after Yekaterinburg? Because you have so many fantastic places. So please consider the future.
Thank you so much for all the support. Thank you so much.
Vladimir Putin: We will think it over.
You are absolutely right, we do have much to offer. If you let us hold the event in Yekaterinburg, we will deal with that first. It is a large city with over one million residents, a large industrial and educational centre. So there is already a good foundation there. But we will certainly design a full programme.