March 28 - There are just 100 days to go until the 2013 Universiade in the Russian city of Kazan, and as the Games draw nearer, the Universiade flame is making its way across the country, and will today begin its journey from Yakutsk to 2019 Winter Universiade bidding city, Krasnoyarsk.
The inaugural Universiade Torch Relay kicked off in July last year when the flame set-off from Paris-Sorbonne University in France - which held the first World Student Games in 1923 - and travelled 45,000 nautical miles and crossed five continents by boat to the Russian port city of Vladivostok.
A press conference was held in Yakutsk, the capital of the Republic of Sakha in North-Eastern Russia, today to mark the beginning of the third stage of the Torch Relay on Russian soil, attended by Oleg Matytsin, FISU 1st vice-president and President of the Russian Student Sports Union (RSSU), Mikhail Gulyaev, Minister of Sports of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Arkady Karbaev, director of the Cultural and Social Programmes Department of the Kazan 2013 executive directorate, and Yakutsk's torchbearer Kunduyana Gerasimova.
Matytsin spoke of the Torch Relay debut and declared it a success that will become a part of the Universiade for years to come.
"On behalf of FISU, I would like to thank the Kazan 2013 Organising Committee for the initiatives taken in the build-up to the Games, one of which is the idea of holding the Torch Relay," he said.
"I'm positive that this initiative will become a tradition and the next cities that will be hosting the World University Games will welcome the Universiade Torch in the same big way.
"Thanks to the relay, people on all continents found out what the 2013 Summer Universiade is, and now the flame is travelling through Russia."
The FISU vice-president also paid tribute to Yakutsk's contribution towards the Torch Relay.
"I express my gratitude to you and I hope that we will see a great celebration," he said.
"It's quite symbolic that Yakutsk will hand the flame over to Krasnoyarsk, the candidate city to host the 2019 Winter Universiade."
Kazan 2013 executive director Arkady Karbaev also expressed his gratitude to the people of Yakutsk and for all the cities involved in the Torch Relay.
"We are pleased that all selected cities assist us and are eager to embrace the Universiade project," he said.
"I congratulate you all on 100 days to go until the start of our Universiade.
"I'm glad that here, in Yakutsk, we are the first in Russia to celebrate this festive occasion.
"I thank all citizens of this beautiful city for being part of this large-scale event."
The 2013 Summer Universiade will take place in Kazan, the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, from July 6-17.
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