Summer Universiade - Flame reaches Saransk on Russia Day

The 2013 Summer Universiade torch relay has made its way to Saransk, the capital of the Republic of Mordovia.

Summer Universiade  - Flame reaches Saransk on Russia Day

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The 2013 Summer Universiade torch relay in Saransk

The flame's arrival in the city coincided with two important public holidays - Russia Day and Saransk City Day - and as such thousands of people packed the streets to greet the torchbearers with festivities culminating in a 700-strong dancing flash mob.

Thirty-seven torchbearers covered a distance of almost 4,000 metres within an hour and a half. Among those who carried the flame along the streets were top students of the city, members of the government and famous athletes including Anisya Kirdyapkina and Aleksey Yufkin.

The first torchbearer was Olga Kaniskina, the 2008 Olympic walk champion and runner-up in London last summer.

Volunteers, representatives of youth organisations and corporate partners of the 2013 Summer Universiade also carried the torch on its route.

As it tradition, the relay ended with the lighting of the city cauldron, a task bestowed upon Elena Lashmanova, race walk champion at the 2012 Olympics, and three-time Paralympic athletics champion, world champion, European champion and world record holder Evgeny Shvetsov.

"Today our city marks its 372nd birthday and on this memorable day Saransk hosts the Universiade Torch Relay," Lashmanova said.

"I had the honour of carrying the part of the flame that unites students of all countries and continents. I'm confident that the Mordovian athletes will give a strong performance at the Universiade and contribute medals to Russia."

Deputy chairman of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan Alexander Gusev said: "Saransk and Kazan are two sports cities on the map of Russia: we both have many sports facilities, children's sports schools, athletes whose names are known to the entire world.

"Kazan is to host the Universiade this year. It will be record-breaking in many respects. I invite residents of Saransk to the hospitable city of Kazan."

At the end of the ceremony, Gusev presented souvenir torches to the city's leaders.

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