This is the first time that Russia is hosting the world aquatics championship. It is expected that 2,400 athletes from 190 countries will take part.
Earlier, the President visited the Kazan Arena stadium, where he met with members of the Russian national team taking part in the championship and wished them good luck in the upcoming competition.
Mr Putin looked over the stadium, which has been adapted especially for hosting water sports competitions. Two temporary 50-metre swimming pools have been erected on the football field: a warm-up pool and a competition pool. This same stadium hosted the the 27th Summer Universiade opening ceremony in 2013.
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Address at the opening ceremony of the XVI FINA World Aquatics Championship
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
Russia welcomes the participants and guests of the XVI World Aquatics Championships, welcomes all who love sports. This is the first time this country is hosting a tournament of this kind and we have set ourselves the goal of holding it at the highest level possible.
I would like to express my gratitude to all who were involved in preparing the championship, who organised the competitions in close cooperation with experts from the International Swimming Federation. I would like to single out the contribution made by the leadership of the Republic of Tatarstan as we meet in its capital Kazan. Here they work hard to develop sports, both high achievement and mass sports. Jointly they have done everything to make sure the world championship is a success.
I am certain that the athletes will show their best skills, while the public, the fans will become part of a grand sports festival. We would like everyone who has come to Russia to feel the warm hospitality of our people, discover the variety of our unique cultures and traditions and, of course, make new trusted and reliable friends.
Gathered here today are talented, driven athletes who understand sport and its lofty ideals. The strongest will receive medals, but I am sure that the championship’s atmosphere, the spirit of honest competition, camaraderie and mutual respect will remain with each of you for years to come.
I wish all the athletes new personal records, and the fans all over the world – a bright and unforgettable experience. I wish all of you vitality, good health and all the very best.
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I declare the XVI World Aquatics Championship open!