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07 June 2021 | in Summer FISU World University Games

Racing driver Sergei Kariakin becomes the first Ambassador of the 2023 FISU World University Games

Sergei Kariakin was recently revealed as the first Ambassador for the Ekaterinburg 2023 FISU World University Games. The winner of the Dakar Rally was given a symbolic certificate from the Deputy Head of the Executive Directorate Oleg Kolesnikov and interviewed by the organisers of the Ekaterinburg 2023 FISU Games. The famous Ekat native first got behind the wheel of a quad bike at the age of 13, won his first racing competition at 14, became the first Russian to win the Dakar Rally in the Quads category at the age of 25 and is now the first Ambassador of the Ekaterinburg 2023 FISU World University Games.


Sergei, allow us to congratulate you on this important and responsible role. You were the first Russian to win the Dakar Rally (In the Quads category - note Ekat-2023). You have now become the first Ambassador of the 2023 FISU World University Games. What are your thoughts and feelings about that?

Undoubtedly this is a great honour. And great responsibility. I really have to rise to the occasion here. Ekaterinburg is an amazing city, and we need to properly represent it and prove to the entire world that we truly deserve to host the FISU Games. I will gladly help the organisers with that!


How will the FISU Games affect Ekaterinburg?

This means investments and an impetus for the city's development. This means more attention and higher status for the city. Using other major tournaments as an example, we can say with confidence that the infrastructure the city receives as a legacy works for the citizens in the long run.


What sport, apart from motorsport, out of the disciplines at the FISU Games could you see yourself participating in?

Motorsport (laughs)


No chance for anything else?

No. I like the speed and the adrenaline.


What about outside the program of the FISU Games?

Perhaps Alpine skiing. I like it a lot. I did sambo for ten years when I was young. Thanks to my father, who worked at a civil aviation plant, I also attended an aircraft modelling club. It was not the most physically demanding activity but it taught me a lot on the technical level. Endurance, patience, quality of work - all these things help a lot in motorsport.


Do you believe there is a chance that motorsport can, in some capacity, become a part of student games or similar competitions?

This is a tough question. You see, motorsport does not align with the idea of Olympic disciplines. The role of the machines is far too great. They are sometimes more important than the human factor.


So it is the machines competing, rather than humans or countries?

In a way. But, as in any other sport, in technical sports people know their heroes and stars. Know where they are from and which country they represent.


Not to mention that these very heroes and stars prepare and service the machines, which is an intense physical exercise...

Yes, this is most likely the most extreme form of fitness (laughs). Speaking of repairing the machines during the stages, I have to point out how important the team is. Considering the conditions they have to work in, their contribution to the final result is indisputable. I strongly believe that success lies in teamwork.


What sport would you compare with a rally raid?

If we talk about endurance over long distances - an Ironman Triathlon.


How do you prepare for such gruelling rally raids as Dakar?

I have been physically well-built ever since I was young. Sambo and constantly driving the quad bike really helped with that. In our sport, the necessary endurance is acquired through practice. Before my first Dakar Rally I participated in many Russian competitions. Became the Champion of Russia and won other prestigious races.


Have you given any thoughts as to which 2023 FISU Games competitions you would like to spectate?

To be frank with you, not yet. But I will definitely make a schedule of the events that I will go to. One hundred percent.


What is the most colourful place in Ekaterinburg that you would recommend guests and spectators of the FISU Games to visit?

In Ekaterinburg, you absolutely have to take a walk along the Iset river embankment – A river that flows through Ekaterinburg. The beauty there is out of this world, and it has everything for comfortable leisure.


And in the region?

Deer Springs (National Park in the Sverdlovsk Region 100km from Ekaterinburg) is a great place. Also, the town of Sysert. It is an ecologically clean place with a wide range of tourist activities.


What would you say to the participants and guests of the FISU Games?

I want to wish everyone coming to the FISU Games to enjoy the competitions and their time in Ekaterinburg. I wish athletes worthy performances and may the strongest among the strong win!