Fourteen countries will be represented at the World University Speed Skating Championships which will begin tomorrow in Belarus.
Four days of competition are scheduled at the Minsk Arena in the country's capital city with an Opening Ceremony taking place today.
Adam Roshek, the President of the European University Sports Association, was among those in attendance.
One of the main purposes of the Opening Ceremony was to "mark the identity of Belarus' people and to show their unique culture".
"I hope that holding of the World University Speed Skating Championship will raise the prestige of the Republic of Belarus as a sporting power," said the country's Education Minister Igor Karpenko, who also attended today's curtain-raiser.
"I am sure that each team includes the best athletes of their country who are ready to demonstrate an honest and uncompromising struggle.
"I wish you a successful start and bright victories."
The women's 3,000 metres will be the first event tomorrow, followed by the men's 5,000m and team sprint competitions.