Summer Universiade - Kazan Gymnastics Centre officially opened

The Gymnastics Centre in Kazan, a venue planned for the 27th Summer Universiade, was officially opened on November 14 with two test events - the Rhythmic Gymnastics Russian Cup and the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Group Championship.

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Summer Universiade  - Kazan Gymnastics Centre officially opened
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The Gymnastics Centre in Kazan

The opening ceremony was attended by Irina Viner-Usmanova, president of the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation and head coach of the Russian national rhythmic gymnastics team, and a host of current Olympic gymnasts.

"We are extremely happy that we succeeded in uniting these two high-profile events - the Championship and the Cup - and celebrate them on the inauguration day of the Gymnastics Centre," said Rafis Burganov, Tatarstan's Minister of Youth Affairs, Sports and Tourism.

Burganov also said the championship serves as a ground to test many novelties that will be introduced during the 2013 Summer Universiade, including a ticket-checking system.

Later the Minister nominated Evegeniya Kanaeva and Tatyana Gorbunova as Kazan 2013 ambassadors.

According to the gymnasts, being a Kazan 2013 ambassador is a very honourable and responsible mission for them.

"Our task is to tell all children how cool it is to play sports, how beneficial they are to them," Gorbunova said.

Tatar President Rustam Minnikhanov said: "Today is a special day in the history of both the capital of our republic and Russian sports; today we inaugurate this magnificent centre and declare open the first rhythmic gymnastics competitions that are taking place here."

Viner-Usmanova also took the floor to congratulate all those present on such a memorable event and thanked for the support given to the Russian national team at the London Olympics.

"There were many Russian flags waved from the stands and it seemed that we were competing on home soil."

The champions fully agreed with her; all of them thanked their coaches, doctors, psychologists and, of course, spectators for contributing to their victories and wished good luck to all participants.

Evgenia Kanaeva, the two-times Olympic champion and nine-times Summer Universiade medal winner, also added that the 2011 Shenzhen Summer Universiade was clearly not inferior to the Olympic Games.

"They had already hosted the Beijing Olympics by that time and their event management experience was impressive. I'm confident that the Universiade in Kazan will be successful as well because people here are very sincere, kind-hearted and hospitable," Kanaeva said.

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