By David Gold

Kazan 2013_shooting_test_event_Sept_7September 9 - Two key test events are getting underway this week as Kazan marks the 300 days to go landmark until the start of next summer's Universiade.

Having just hosted the World University Canoe Sprint Championships, Kazan is holding equivalent events for shooting (pictured above) and rowing as a key test of preparations for 2013.

Hundreds of athletes representing dozens of countries are in the city as is the International Federation of University Sports (FISU), which is watching and analysing Kazan's operational readiness for next year.

"Kazan 2013, and all of Russia, is so excited to host the second largest participation sporting event in the modern world," said Kazan 2013's director general Vladimir Leonov.

"We are way ahead of schedule on all the major FISU requirements plus much more, from the massive brand new Universiade Village and campus, already partially occupied by our University system, to our 36 new stadiums across the city, which has been hosting test event, after test event, over the last 24 months.

Rowing test_event_at_Kazan_Sept_7Action from the 12th World University Rowing Championship in Kazan 

"So we are ready for you!

"Welcome to Kazan!"

As the competitions get underway, the Universiade Flame, which was lit in Paris earlier this summer, is making its way across the world.

It will visit five continents, travel through 51 cities and be held by 2,013 Torchbearers until it reaches the Rubin Kazan football stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan region of Russia, won the right to host the 27th Universiade in May 2008, and the city has been transformed in the four years since.

Transport infrastructure is being upgraded and 27 state-of-the-art sports venues have already been put into operation.

Volunteer centres have been recruiting volunteers for the for the event, which will bring together 13,000 athletes from 200 countries.

Kazan 2013_volunteer_Sept_7One of the volunteers who will support Kazan 2013 

In terms of size and athlete numbers, the Summer Universiade is the second largest sporting after the Summer Olympic Games and will be the biggest event to be hosted in Russia since the staging of the Summer Olympics in Moscow in 1980.

It is acting as a dress rehearsal for Russia as they prepare to stage the Winter Olympic and Paralympics in Sochi in 2014, as well as the World Cup in 2018.

Over the next few years, a number of other key sport events are taking place in Russia, including world championships in swimming, athletics and ice hockey.

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