By David Gold at Russia.Park in Kensington Gardens in London

Kazan 2013_Universiade_1_2_AugustAugust 2 - Vladimir Leonov, executive director of the Kazan 2013 Universiade, has said that the city has a "very big responsibility" as it prepares to host the biggest event in the country since the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics.

Kazan 2013 (pictured top) is in many ways a dress rehearsal for Russia at the start of a decade of sport which will also see the country hold the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi the following year and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The World Aquatics Championships are also coming to Kazan in 2015.

"The World University Games is the second largest event in terms of number of sports, participants," Leonov said here at the Global Sports Industry Congress.

The Summer Olympic Games is, of course, the largest sporting event on the planet.

"It is a very big responsibility as Russia has not hosted such a large event since the Summer Olympics in 1980," he continued.

"Our Games is seen as a springboard, test case and rehearsal for big events such as the Sochi Winter Olympics and the World Cup.

"It is a really big, big legacy because we have in our city not so good conditions for the people who come for study."

The Flame for Kazan 2013 is currently on its journey around the world after being lit in Paris last month.

Kazan 2013_Universiade_Flame_2_AugustThe Kazan 2013 Universiade Flame being lit in Paris

Delegations from more than 170 countries will descend on Kazan for the Universiade, and significant work has been done on the problematic transport network to improve it in time for the Games.

Among the works carried out, the city has a renovated international airport and improved train links to the city centre.

Kazan is using 60 venues for the 2013 Universiade, 36 of which are built specifically for the Games.

Leonov is hoping that the city, in the centre of Russia not far from Moscow, will be put on the map by next year's event.

"I think five or six years ago no one was sitting here and knew about Kazan," he said.

"When I started my bid everyone thought it was Kazakhstan, I told them it was Tatarstan [the region Kazan is located in].

"Through these events, sports society and social society knows the city of Kazan."

There were nine national and international test events held in Kazan last year, and Leonov added that they were working with the Sochi 2014 and Russia 2018 World Cup organising committees in order to pool their respective knowledge.

Part of the collaboration has seen six volunteers from Kazan travel to London as part of the 104-strong team Sochi 2014 have sent to gain valuable experience of an Olympic and Paralympics.

Kazan 2013 is due to get underway on July 6 and runs until July 17.

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