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Celebrations Kick Off Universiade Student Games In Kazan

The 27th Summer Universiade opened on July 6 in Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, with an elaborate ceremony featuring some 1,000 performers. The ceremony included dance, music, and theater performances focusing on the theme of Russia's ethnic diversity. This year's Universiade -- one of the biggest sporting events in the world -- includes more than 10,000 university athletes from 162 countries.

Spectators gather to watch the events on a large screen in Kazan's Universiade Park.
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Spectators gather to watch the events on a large screen in Kazan's Universiade Park.

An audience of some 45,000 watches performers at the opening ceremony.
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An audience of some 45,000 watches performers at the opening ceremony.

Some of the dance and theatrical performances highlighted Russia's diverse ethnic heritage, while other elements of the ceremony focused on the achievements of Russian scientists.
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Some of the dance and theatrical performances highlighted Russia's diverse ethnic heritage, while other elements of the ceremony focused on the achievements of Russian scientists.

An enormous letter U houses the orchestra.
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An enormous letter U houses the orchestra.

Characters from Russian folk tales appear in one performance.
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Characters from Russian folk tales appear in one performance.

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Athletes from Belarus arrive at the stadium...
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Athletes from Belarus arrive at the stadium...

...followed by a team from the United Arab Emirates. Athletes from 162 countries are taking part in the games, which last until July 17.
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...followed by a team from the United Arab Emirates. Athletes from 162 countries are taking part in the games, which last until July 17.

Spectators wave tulips, the symbol of the Kazan Universiade, for the Russian athletes.
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Spectators wave tulips, the symbol of the Kazan Universiade, for the Russian athletes.

Claude-Louis Gallien, the president of the International University Sports Federation (FISU), addresses the crowd alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Claude-Louis Gallien, the president of the International University Sports Federation (FISU), addresses the crowd alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Irek Zaripov, a four-time medalist at the Paralympics, lights the Universiade torch.
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Irek Zaripov, a four-time medalist at the Paralympics, lights the Universiade torch.

Fireworks mark the start of the games.
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Fireworks mark the start of the games.

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