International University Sports Federation (FISU) President Oleg Matytsin has today praised preparations for the 2017 Winter Universiade here, claiming "we never came as supervisors" for the Organising Committee.
With the biennial event's Opening Ceremony scheduled for tomorrow, Matytsin also confirmed that a new delegation participation record has been set, despite the total number of 57 nations being one less than what was recently expected.
The Russian is confident that the Winter Universiade will be a celebration of youth and that Kazakhstan will be the perfect host.
"We raise the future leaders through sport and we want students to feel the atmosphere of hospitality and kindness of Kazakhstan," Matytsin said.
"This project will be without any doubt a successful one.
"Both FISU and the OC (Organising Committee) work together as one team."
Joining Matytsin at a press conference held today was FISU secretary general and chief executive Eric Saintrond, who outlined the worldwide scope of the 12-day multi-sport event.
"Besides student-athletes from the traditional winter countries, we also have the best athletes from countries that are not necessarily associated with snow and ice," he said.
"We have a snowboarder from Uganda, skiers from Argentina and Afghanistan, a cross-country skier from Brazil, a figure skater from Mexico."
Saintrond also spoke of how impressed he is by the 5,000-capacity Athletes’ Village, which is located in the Alatau district of Almaty and opened on Tuesday (January 24).
"This is the best Athletes’ Village we ever had in terms of the look and the services," he said.
"Afterwards, it will become a housing project, hence a fantastic legacy of the Universiade."
Also present at the press conference was Nail Nurov, general director of the Organising Committee, and Sagadiyev Didar, secretary general of the Organising Committee.
"Kazakhstan is proud that we are a sport country," Nurov said.
"In 2016, we celebrated 25 years of independence and during all these years we were active players in the international sport arena.
"Our goal was to become a sport centre of the region."
The press conference came on the back of the second day of the FISU Executive Committee meeting, where Education Committee chair Verena Burk and director of education Köle Gjeloshaj reported on the progress made regarding the FISU World Conference on Innovation-Education-Sport during the 2017 Winter Universiade.
FISU provides each Winter Universiade Organising Committee with the opportunity to host the World Conference, which aims to create a networking platform for scientists who will present and promote the research on scientific innovations and enhance the sustainable development of winter sports.
It is a chance for the young generation of sport scientists to discuss new ideas or to arrange projects and cooperative efforts in the area of sports science.
This year's edition is due to be held from February 3 to 4.