Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade set to open on 2 March
KRASNOYARSK, RUSSIAN FEDERATION – The 29th edition of the Winter Universiade is set to open full of fanfare Saturday in this Siberian city. The biannual winter multi-sport event will kick off with a spectacular opening ceremony at 20:19 (local time) on 2 March 2019.
More than 1,700 of the world’s best university student-athletes will compete through 11 days in 11 sports: Alpine Skiing, Bandy, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Curling, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Ice Hockey, Short Track Speed Skating, Ski Orienteering and Snowboard. The Krasnoyarsk 2019 Organising Committee is particularly enthused that Bandy, known as ‘Russian Hockey’ in the host country, is part of the Winter Universiade for the first time in 2019.
With 58 countries participating, Winter Universiade 2019 promises to be one of the best ever event editions, where records are broken and iconic moments are captured and broadcast to a global audience. The Russian delegation with 295 athletes leads the field and will be looking to top the medals table, as they did in the event’s most recent edition two years ago in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
With Lucerne hosting the next Winter Universiade in 2021, Switzerland has put its best foot forward in Krasnoyarsk with 100 student-athletes competing. Kazakhstan, Japan and China also have large delegations closing in on 100 athletes.
FISU President Oleg Matytsin stressed on that fact that the Winter Universiade is a student-athletes’ games. “This is the intersection of education and sports participation” President Matytsin said. “Young people should do sports; young people should be healthy. This is how we build both unity and the skills to be tomorrow’s leaders.”
The 76 medal events of the Winter Universiade will be broadcast live on the Russian network Match TV and internationally on major networks including Eurosport and the 280-member strong Asian Broadcasting Union with a potential reach of over 3 billion audiences across Asia and the Pacific. Competition gets underway on 1 March 2019 with preliminary round match-ups in Ice Hockey and will conclude with a not-to-be-missed closing ceremony on 12 March.
With over 100 previous Universiade participants going on to win medals at the PyeongChang 2018 and Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Krasnoyarsk is poised to be an important proving grounds for future sports stars. French Freestyle Skier and 2018 Winter Olympic
Winter Games Moguls gold medalist Perrine Laffont headlines the field along with South Korean Short Track Speed Skater and double Olympic gold medalist in the 3000m Relay, Kim Alang.
The event has attracted attention of many top winter sports stars. This list includes Alexei Yagudin, the 2002 Olympic champion and four-time world champion in figure skating.
“At its very minimum, the Winter Universiade is a springboard to elite sports,” Mr. Yagudin said. “As a father of two young daughters, I know what sports can mean for their future. For them, it’s so important to take part in events like this.”
With the 5,000 volunteers already showing the warmth of Siberians to athletes, officials and spectators alike, and more than 165,000 tickets sold, Krasnoyarsk is ready for the Winter Universiade. When Krasnoyarsk 2019 organisers say ‘Welcome to #RealWinter’ there’s meaning behind the motto. Situated in the heart of Siberia, the host location has deep sporting roots. As the capital of the Krasnoyarsk territory in Russia, the city is ideally suited to cement its position as a top-level winter sports venue. Nineteen athletes from the region have won gold medals at the Olympic Games, with three others becoming Paralympic Games champions.
FISU Secretary General - CEO Eric Saintrond emphasised the social capital the citizens of Krasnoyarsk were building by hosting the Winter Universiade.
"To organise a great event, you need great staff. By putting on this event, you’re building excellent experience,” Mr. Saintrond said. “With a young, professional team so actively involved in hosting this event, Krasnoyarsk is setting itself up for long-lasting social legacy benefits.”
"You only have to look to Kazan,” he added. “The team there is now putting up the FINA World Swimming Championships. The FIFA World Cup this past summer is the same team that was in place back in 2008 in preparation for the Kazan 2013 Summer Universiade. Just like Kazan, I see you going on and hosting other important sports events."
Krasnoyarsk has also benefitted from the full support of the Russian Federation, which brings a wealth of experience having already hosted the 1973 Summer Universiades, 1980 Summer Olympics, 2013 Summer Universiade and 2014 Winter Olympics. This though, is the first time that a city in the Russian Federation has hosted the Winter Universiade. With the eve of the Winter Universiade upon us, the hosts have left no stone unturned to ensure it’s a memorable one.
For the American’s Women's Ice Hockey team star player Maddie Wolsmann, her first days in Krasnoyarsk had already left an indelible mark. “To tell my friends and family I am in Siberia
is not an experience that every American gets to have. We have barely stepped out onto the ice yet, but being here has already left an impression. I am honoured to be here.”
For the figure skating icon Yagudin, who married his wife in Krasnoyarsk, the reason for this is simple: “Krasnoyarsk is the real heart of Siberia. Krasnoyarsk will become the heart of winter sports, not just in Siberia but for all of Russia.”
All information related to the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade is available on the official website: www.krsk2019.ru/en/home
The International University Sports Federation – FISU
Founded in 1949, FISU stands for Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (International University Sports Federation). FISU was formed within university institutions in order to promote sports values and sports practice in harmony with the university spirit. Promoting sports values means encouraging friendship, fraternity, fair-play, perseverance, integrity and cooperation amongst students, who one day may have responsibilities and key positions in politics, economy, culture and industry.
With FISU’s motto being ‘Today’s Stars, Tomorrow’s Leaders’, all FISU events include educational and cultural aspects, bringing together sport and academia from all over the world to celebrate with a spirit of friendship and sportsmanship. FISU cooperates in developing its events and programmes with all major international sports and educational organisations. As major outcomes of those collaborations, in 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed the International Day of University Sport to be celebrated annually on 20 September – an event that has seen huge growth in its first few years.
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