World University Games kick off in Kazan
With an impressive opening ceremony at the Kazan arena, the 27th World University Games began on July 6 in the presence of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Athletics is one of 27 different sports being contested in Kazan with the Russian city playing host, just one month before the IAAF World Championships begin in Moscow, 800km away from Kazan. Many of the officials who will be in Moscow next month are also doing their jobs this week in Kazan.
Held over six days (7-12 July), the athletics programme will have the greatest number of participants in Kazan with 750 men and 650 women set to compete. The Decathlon and Heptathlon is part of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge.
Lesnoy and Suzuki take first golds
Fittingly, the first title of the championships went to the host country. Alexandr Lesnoy was the only athlete who passed the 20-meter mark in the men’s Shot Put final, throwing 20.30m on his second attempt.
In second, India’s Indrajit Singh improved his PB by 39 centimetres, throwing 19.80m. Lesnoy’s compatriot Valeriy Kokoyev had only one valid throw, but his 19.65m was enough to get the bronze medal.
The women’s 10,000m final was also held on the first day. Only two countries were in contention for medals, with the gold eventually going to Japan’s Ayuko Suzuki in 32:54.17. Russia’s Alina Prokopyeva prevented a Japanese 1-2-3, taking silver in 33:00.93, as Suzuki’s team-mates Mai Tsuda and Mai Sho Ji were third and fourth.