The interactive opening ceremony is scheduled to last for about four hours, giving everyone in the stands a chance to participate. The spectators were handed a gift package, consisting of a tulip-shaped hand fan, three flashlights, a bell and 3D glasses, with every one having a role to play in the show. President Vladimir Putin arrived for the opening ceremony after visiting the Universiade Village where he met with athletes representing Russia at the event. The Kazan Universiade was the first ever to be preceded by a torch relay as its flame was ignited on June 15, 2012 at Paris’ Sorbonne, which hosted the maiden World Student Games back in 1923. The torch then travelled around the world aboard the Sedov sailing vessel, covering 45,000 nautical miles. The Russian stage of the relay began on Russian Students’ Day, January 25, with the flame moving westward from the east of the country, travelling through 30 major student, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg and 2014 winter Olympic capital, Sochi. The Universiade or the World Student Games will be taking place in the city of Kazan between July 6 and 17. Over 10,000 student athletes from 175 countries are to participate in the event, with hosts Russia providing the biggest team of 663 members. 351 sets of medals in 27 disciplines will be up for grabs in Kazan, with the names of the first medalists to be known already on Sunday. The Games will use 64 venues, 36 of them constructed specifically for the occasion, including the Kazan Arena, which will host both the opening and the closing ceremonies of the Universiade. According to International University Sports Federation (FISU) president, Claude-Louis Gallien, the Kazan Universiade has cost the organizers $4.5 billion, which was spent both on facilities and the city’s infrastructure. The venues, built for the Games, will be widely used in the future during major sporting events like the 2015 World Swimming Championship and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Around 100,000 fans from all over the world are expected to visit the capital of Russia’s republic of Tatarstan during the Games, with tickets already sold out for most of the events. Security measures have been tightened within the Universiade home city with 24,000 interior ministry servicemen are deployed to Kazan. It’s the second time the Universiade has been held on Russian soil after Moscow hosted the Summer World Student Games back in 1973. The Universiade is a multi-sport event for university students from all over the globe. Just like the Olympics, the World Student Games have a summer and a winter version, held with a two year gap between them.
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