By Tom Degun

Kazan logoJuly 6 - Kazan is today marking one year to go to the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Universiade – a premier event for university sports – but which will also fire the starting gun on an incredible few years for major events in Russia. 

They are celebrating with a wide range of festivities across the Russian city designed to offer the public a taste of what the event's atmosphere will be like next year.

The highlight of the celebrations will see a giant clock unveiled in Bauman Street in the city centre which will count the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the start of the competition.

Bauman Street will also see the start of the 2013 Summer Universiade Torch Relay where five young people, representing the world's five continents, will take the Torchbearer's oath.

The event will act as a prelude the Torch Lighting Ceremony which will take place in Paris on July 13.

"I feel so fortunate to help spread the message that Russia is an honoured sports citizen of the world and excited to host a sports mega-event," said Kazan 2013 director general Vladimir Leonov.

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"We cannot wait for the day, just 365 from now, when so many world-class athletes, delegations and spectators will come to experience the hospitality and energy of my home town, our region and our fast growing country."

Another important event on the programme will see the admission ceremony for newly appointed Kazan 2013 ambassadors.

Olga Shelest (pictured below), a famous television presenter, and Dmitry Sautin, the two-time Olympic diving champion, will become official Kazan 2013 ambassadors and make a pledge to promote the ideas of the Summer Universiade.

The milestone day will also see various exhibitions made available for the public to learn more about the 2013 Summer Universiade, including a themed exposition at the National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan and a photo show in Bauman Street.

To crown the day of celebrations, tickets for the 2013 Summer Universiade will officially go on sale today with seats available for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

The Universiade has only been staged once before in Russia – in Moscow back in 1973.

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The event in Kazan next year takes on added importance as it is seen in Russia as a dress rehearsal for the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games and FIFA 2018 World Cup.

Several other big events are also due to take place in Russia over the next few years, including the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow. 

Kazan's first attempt to win the right to host the event was unsuccessful when they lost out to China, but now awarded the prestigious competition they will provide 60 sports venues, 36 of which are being constructed especially for the Games.

During the event Kazan will be host over 13,500 competitors and delegation members.

To read an exclusive blog from Vladimir Leonov, the director general of Kazan 2013, click here

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