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Kazan 2013: Universiade flame lit at Sorbonne

With less than a year left before the big event, the flame for the Kazan 2013 Universiade has been lit at one of the world’s oldest universities, the Sorbonne in Paris.

­It was the Sorbonne, which hosted the first international student games back in 1923.

The Russian delegation headed by the former head of the Republic of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev, is in the French capital for the ceremony.

"The Universiade torch relay, which starts here today, will pass through all parts of the globe, the fire will travel by sea and by land," he said.

The head of the delegation added that the Universiade flame is a “symbol of unity of the all the people of the world for the sake of their confident present and beautiful future”.

The honor to light the flame fell to five Sorbonne students, representing five parts of the world.

Those are the same young men, who uttered the Universiade oath on English, Russian, Chinese, Arabic and French when the one-year countdown to the games began in Kazan on July 6.  

At the ceremony, the students gather their torches together and handed them to former Sorbonne President, Georges Molini, who lit the Kazan 2013 flame, which was then passed to the first torchbearer by the CEO of the Kazan 2013 Executive Committee, Vladimir Leonov.

­"The Universiade flame is a symbol of unity, friendship and peace within the international student community," Vladimir Leonov, told ITAR-TASS news. “This time it’s crafted in the shape of a tulip, which is a detail on traditional Tatar ornaments, and contains the image of the Universiade inside.”

According to the official, the Kazan 2013 torch relay will set a record for university sports.

2013 torchbearers will visit 54 cities and 50 student centers on five continents, covering 150,000 kilometers in less than a year.

The relay will see the involvement of over 1.5 million students around the globe.

The Universiade flame is expected to appear at the 2012 APEC summit in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East, take part in the Sydney Marathon in Australia and be on board of one the cars during the Pharaohs Rally in the Sahara desert.

The burning tulip is to be seen at the Formula 1 circuit in Singapore and will also feature at the opening of the International Student Day in the US.

In December 2012, the flame will arrive in the host country to be stored at the Moscow State University before the start of the final part of the relay, which will include 27 Russian student centers.

It will finish in Kazan on July 6, 2013 at the opening ceremony of the Summer Universiade.          

The next year’s games will take place on 64 venues, with 36 of them constructed specially for the Universiade.

Among them are the 45.000-strong football stadium, which – above all – will hold the opening and closing ceremonies, the Aquatics Palace for 4,200 spectators, the Tennis Academy and the rowing course at the Sredny Kaban lake.

The Universiade Village is ready to accept 13.000 athletes from all over the world, competing in 27 sports disciplines – from football to chess.