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16 July 2013 | in Summer Universiade, Conference

FISU Conference in Kazan - Day 2


Ilshat Gafurov


KAZAN - The second day of the FISU conference kicked off on the morning of July 15 at Main International Centre with lectures about the history of student sport and the recent changes in sports journalism.

Professor Ilshat Gafurov, the Rector at Kazan Federal University, gave the first lecture. His speech was on the historical traditions and the development of university sport at the Kazan Federal University at the current stage. Professor Gafurov took the audience through the advances of student sport throughout Kazan’s history.

Profesor Gafurov detailed the beginning of sports education in Kazan, and how it continued to grow through the 20th century. He highlighted changes the government made to increase interest in student sport, for example the opening of the cultural and sports complex in Kazan in 1989, which was the best in Russia at that time, and the first federal universities festival of student sport in 2011.

He also explained the initiatives of students to increase sports in university, for example in 1953 the student-organized athletic relay, which now has over 2,500 competitors each year. He described the important role of Russian conferences, which have assisted the developing the culture of sport for students. Having successful famous Olympic athletes originating from Kazan such as gold medalist in steeplechase Yulia Zaripove, has also boosted interest in student sport.

Alan Abrahamson


The second lecture was given by Alan Abrahamson, a lecturer of communication and journalism at the University of Southern California. He shared his experiences in the field as a well-known writer and journalist, with his co-written book about Michael Phelps currently on the New York Times bestsellers list.

Mr. Abrahamson described the role of media in university and Olympic sport. He gave an example of a recent article he wrote about the news that broke Sunday of doping among prominent American and Jamaican track and field athletes. “No one particularly likes writing these columns, but they are important. We need to write about these things, that we hold people accountable. Sport only works when we believe in what we see.”

Mr. Abrahamson went on to discuss the future of journalism. “One of the most pressing questions is how journalism can survive. Journalism is the first draft of history, and it’s a way different ball game now. The IOC sees these trends but is slow to appreciate them.”

He gave a number of statistics, the most noteworthy being the significant increase in mobile video streaming from 301,000 in Beijing, to more than 23 million in London.

Having worked with the Young Reporters’ Program previously, Mr Abrahamson addressed the YRPs, saying that he knows “how difficult it is to write a good 250 words”.

“You’ve got to get rid of the noise. Don’t get bogged down. It takes a lot of practices.”

He spoke directly with the Young Reporters, reminding them of their “responsibility to ensure that olympic and university sports are alive and well.”

Also addressing the Young Reporters, one of Mr Abrahamson’s final remarks was that “the future of the business is female.”


Leigh Ferguson/FISU Young Reporter (AUS) - Photos: C. Pierre/FISU