By James Crook

94939606February 15 - Republic of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov (pictured) has identified the 2013 Kazan Universiade as a rehearsal for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and says that he hopes visitors to the events will "see an international unity and feel the dynamics of our country's development."

In an interview with The Voice of Russia, Minnikhanov labelled the Universiade as a "test" for "all the aspects of hosting the Sochi Olympics, such as transportation, logistics, refereeing".

He also went on to say that he hoped the Universiade could provide positive momentum for the country's image in time for Sochi 2014.

"The Universiade, where about 170 countries will be represented, will definitely contribute to positive image of Russia ahead of the Winter Olympics." he said.

"Our foreign colleagues will see an international unity and feel the dynamics of our country's development.

"We will try to show everything our city and our people can be proud of."

There had been reports that the Kazan 2013 Organising Committee were on the verge of bankruptcy last month over an unpaid tax bill, but Minnikhanov has assured that the facilities and infrastructure will be ready and will be of a high standard.

Kazan2013villageThe Universiade Village in Kazan, which is currently being used as a student campus

"The construction of the Universiade Village has been completed," he said.

"It is ready to receive 13,000 athletes, coaches and guests."

"The tennis academy is capable of hosting world-class tournaments."

"The gymnastics and water sports centres are unique sport facilities."

"The International Information Centre and the rowing canal have been opened, while other facilities will be completed according to the schedule,"

"The Village is now used as a student campus."

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