The last minute checks have all been done and the competitors, venues and officials are all set and ready for the start of the 29th International University Sports Federation (FISU) Winter Universiade 2019 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
From March 2 to 12, the 29th Winter Universiade 2019 will see several thousand student-athletes compete for 76 sets of awards across 11 sports. Eight of those are compulsory with the host‘s organising committee able to include a further three optional sports from the FISU Recognised Sports and World University Championships programme to include in their edition of the Winter Universiade.
Unlike the four-year Olympic cycle, student competitions are held every two years. Students from the age of 17 to 25 and graduates who have received an academic degree or a diploma in the year preceding the competition are allowed to participate in competitions.
The Winter Universiade 2019 is the third Universiade hosted by Russia – the first being in Moscow in 1973, the second in Kazan in 2013 – however it is first time in history it is to be held under the aegis of FISU. In modern Russian history, the Kazan Universiade set the high standard for large international sports events which was then widely implemented at the Olympic Games in Sochi.
The 2019 host city Krasnoyarsk is the capital of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the second largest region of the Russian Federation and the largest industrial, scientific and cultural centre of Eastern Siberia. Preparations have been a long time in the making for it was way back on 9 November 2013 in Brussels that the FISU Executive Committee decided to award Krasnoyarsk the honour of hosting the 2019 Winter Universiade.
Today Krasnoyarsk is more than justifying that honorary status. The competitions that will be played out over the 11 days will turn Krasnoyarsk into a unique sports arena, with many top student athletes taking part in the sports festival. Not only that, holding the Games here has been fully embraced across the wider region for it is seen as a major investment in the future not only of the city but of the Krasnoyarsk Territory as a whole.
Casting minds back to the previous two editions of the Winter Universiade, in 2013, the Trentino Winter Universiade drew a record 2,668 competitors to the Italian Alps, whilst two years ago the Almaty Winter Universiade saw a record 57 countries compete in Kazakhstan. The tangible benefits to both venues at that time and since have been enormous in many ways and Krasnoyarsk is equally set to benefit.
The Universiade Park is the main cultural venue of the Universiade and a big entertainment zone in the centre of Krasnoyarsk. It is located in Mira Square and its affiliate takes the western side of Tatyshev Island, with the two areas connected by a cable-stayed bridge.The Winter Universiade 2019 Museum is located in the Universiade Village and is dedicated to the history of the Games and sports of Krasnoyarsk, as well as showcasing a collection of rare sports artefacts together with technological innovations. The exhibit cases contain the Universiade attributes of various years.
Fireworks go off over the city of Krasnoyarsk marking the opening of the 2019 Winter Universiade Park
Image credit: Getty Images
There are mascots and medal sets of the Games held in Almaty (2017), Granada (2015) and Turin (2007) plus items of the largest sports events held in the territory of Russia. They include the torches of the Olympic Games in Sochi and the 27th Summer Universiade Kazan 2013, and Kesha the Sable—the symbol of the Spartakiad of Peoples of the USSR held in 1986.
The exhibited objects featuring innovation technologies are also installed here. Among them there is the Torch of the Winter Universiade 2019, with its flame inside the holographic tetrahedral pyramid. The hologram of the flame sequentially transforms into shade pictures of a skier, ice hockey player, biathlete, and other athletes representing all 11 sports of the Games in Krasnoyarsk.