March 20 - Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the Tatarstan capital city of Kazan is on its way to becoming Russia's premier sporting city following an inspection of facilities which will be used for the 2013 Universiade in the city.
Putin toured the Tennis Academy, which will host tennis and badminton at the Universiade, as well as the Water Sports Palace, the Gymnastics Centre, and paid particular attention to the under-construction Rubin Arena football stadium, which will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Universiade before becoming the home of Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan FC next year and hosting matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"Out of 29 sports venues that were scheduled to be constructed ahead of the competitions, 27 have already been put into service." said Putin.
"Moreover, some of them exhibit unique characteristics and will be able to host high-profile sporting events in the future,"
Martial arts expert Putin spoke of the legacy that hosting the Universiade next year will leave for the region and the country as a whole as it prepares to enter a golden decade for sport.
Russian capital Moscow will host the Rugby World Sevens and IAAF World Athletics Championships this year, with the Winter Olympics and Paralympics set to take place in Sochi in 2014.
Looking further on, the country will also host the FINA World Aquatics Championships, which will take place at the Water Sports Palace in Kazan in 2015, and Moscow and St Petersburg will host the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2016, with various cities across the nation hosting games at the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
"From the very beginning we've been planning to build a complex tailored to the needs of Volga Region Federal University and Volga Region Academy of Physical Culture, and of course this complex will become a major student campus in Russia." he said.
"Given that the federal training centre, where national teams in aquatic sports will train, will be located here as well, Kazan obtains a comprehensive education and sports cluster where national and international competitions will be held on a regular basis and new generations of domestic athletes will be nurtured,"
"What has been done in Kazan in the run-up to the Summer Universiade makes a favourable impression.
"A large amount of work has been completed and the city is turning into a true sports capital of Russia"
The Russian President also emphasised the need for students to support the Games and get behind their team to ensure a successful Universiade this July.
"The Universiade is a festive occasion for the entire nation." he continued
"It's important to ensure that as many students as possible from regions can come to see the competitions and support our team."
Putin spoke as he chaired a meeting of the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport during his visit to Kazan.
Kazan is set to host the 2013 Universiade between July 6 and July 17 this year.
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