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29 January 2017 | in Winter Universiade, Multisports

2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty opens in Splendour



ALMATY – Today, 29 January, the 28th Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan was officially opened by the President of the country, His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev.

In the newly constructed Almaty Arena, the Universiade participants witnessed a wonderful and dazzling show.

For the occasion, the multi-functional arena with a seating capacity of 12,000 was converted into a magical place. From the ceiling the solar system appeared with the sun as its centrepiece. The sun being a central aspect in Kazakh mythology. Central stage on the ice rink, a platform in the shape of a petal, a symbol of life, youth and love depicting growth, prosperity and aspiration. Falling on the petal, the rays of the sun symbolized the process of converting light into the energy of life.


Flashing back into time, everybody present at the Almaty Arena was invited for a journey down memory lane, exploring the rich history of Kazakhstan. A parade of ancient and traditional costumes of the nation’s past and legends of the country awed the audience.



After the hoisting of the host nation’s flag and the playing of the national anthem, all delegations paraded the venue in the traditional March Pass of the athletes who walked in on the modern tunes of famous Kazakh deejays. Once the athletes took their seats, the cultural programme kicked off with spectacular video images that coloured the whole arena.


The Kazakh delegation enters the Arena

The audience witnessed a full season passing by revealing the stages of development of the country – birth (Spring), growth (Summer), the rise (Fall) and fortitude (Winter).


His Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev

At the end of the programme, His Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave a speech welcoming the athletes in his country. “Sport is a symbol of peace, friendship, cooperation and goodwill. We welcome all participant of this competition to our hospitable Kazakhstan soil.”


FISU President Oleg Matytsin

Then the floor was given to FISU President Oleg Matytsin who praised the Kazakh hosts. “On behalf of the FISU Family let me thank the President and the people of Kazakhstan and all those who contributed to this Universiade for your hard work and your commitment! I’m convinced that the heritage of the Universiade will be an important factor of stability and well-being of Almaty for many years to come.”

A video message from IOC President Thomas Bach followed next who recalled his days as a student-athlete. “From my own experience of the Universiade, when I was a student, I know of the excitement that every athlete feels before the competition finally starts. So I wish the athlete the very best.”

The FISU Flag enters the Arena

Next, the FISU Flag was brought into the Arena by six elite Kazakh athletes, i.e. biathlete Vasiliy Nikolayevich Podkoryto, boxer Daniyar Maratovich Yeleusinov, chess player Dinara Ramazanovna Sadvakassova, speed skater Yekatarina Valeryavna Aygova, judoka Marian Davletovna Urdabayeva and wrestler Adilet Malikovich Davlumbayev. While the FISU anthem ‘Gaudeamus Igitur’ was played the FISU flag was hoisted followed by the athletes’ and judges’ oaths.


Lighting of the Universiade Flame

After the oaths the FISU Flame entered the Arena. The Torch Relay had passed throughout Kazakhstan and finally the cauldron was lit bringing the torches from the different relays together. After the lighting of the Universiade Flame, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan declared the 28th Winter Universiade open.

Fireworks outside the Arena followed and were broadcast on the giant screens in the Arena, ending a spectacular Opening Ceremony of the Winter Universiade.



C. Pierre, FISU Press Officer




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