Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the Winter Universiade open in the east Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on Saturday. ONA reports citing TASS.
"I congratulate you on the start of competitions and wish you luck, and wonderful, stunning and bright victories," Putin said at the opening ceremony.
"I declare the 29th Winter Universiade open," he said.
The Russian leader greeted the athletes and fans on Krasnoyarsk soil.
"Today, a worldwide festival of student sport, a festival of youth and friendship and of hard and fair play came to Krasnoyarsk, to the banks of our great Siberian river of Yenisei," Putin said adding that thousands of athletes from dozens nations would showcase their skills, strength, endurance, the will to win, the determined character and respect for opponents.
Putin was hopeful that both the athletes and fans would remember the Universiade for life and only joyful and happy impressions would be imprinted in their memory.
The president wished that the Krasnoyarsk Universiade would turn over "a bright page" in the history of world sport.
"As it happened with the Summer Universiade in Kazan, the Sochi Olympics, the [2018 FIFA] World Cup, or all those major sports forums hosted by Russia, which held them not only at the good but at the highest level," Putin added.
He thanked sincerely the athletes, their coaches and sport officials for their dedication to the ideals of sport and their readiness to follow its best traditions.
2019 Winter Universiade
The Russian Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, which has a population of over one million, was elected to host the 2019 Winter Universiade at the session of the FISU Executive Committee in Brussels in 2013. The event is scheduled for March 2-12, 2019.
The Winter Universiade is an international sporting and cultural festival which is staged every two years in a different city. The name of the international sports event is a combination of two words, which are ‘University’ and ‘Olympiad.’
It is only second to the Olympic Games. The program of the Winter Universiade currently includes 6 compulsory sports (8 compulsory disciplines) and up to 3 optional sports chosen by the host country.
The 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk offers 76 sets of medals in 11 sports competitions, which are Alpine Skiing, Curling, Biathlon, Figure Skating, Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Hockey, Snowboard, Short Track Speed Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Bandy and Ski Orienteering.