Winter Universiade Games kick off in Turkey / PHOTO

The delegations from 58 countries took their places in the stadium.

Winter Universiade Games kick off in Turkey / PHOTO

The 25th Winter Universiade Games was inaugurated by Turkish President Abdullah Gul in eastern province of Erzurum on Thursday.

Gul said that he was glad that Erzurum was hosting such an important organization and it was a great success for Turkey.

The ceremony began with eight athletes and the games' mascot "Kanka" carrying the flag of the Universiade behind the band. Turkey's national anthem was played by the band.

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The delegations from 58 countries took their places in the stadium.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 25th Winter Universiade Games, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Erzurum deserved to host the winter olympics in the future.

"More than 3,000 athletes from over 50 countries have arrived in Erzurum for the Winter Universiade. These athletes are not guests. They are the hosts and I welcome them to Erzurum," Erdogan said.

"Erzurum is a unique province. I advise all the athletes to visit cites in Erzurum and get to know the province closely," Erdogan said.

"These games have five stars. The five stars represent the five continents. There is peace, brotherhood, love, happiness and excitement here. I believe that we can host the winter olympics following the Universiade Games,"Erdogan said.

In his closing remarks, Erdogan wished all the athletes success during the Universiade Games.

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Turkish athlete Sabahattin Oglago, who will compete in the men's cross-country skiing, carried the Turkish flag in the ceremony.

Delivering the opening remarks at the ceremony, the Chairman of the Organization Committee and State Minister in charge of sports Faruk Nafiz Ozak said that everyone witnessed a story of success in Erzurum on Thursday.

Young people from five continents came together in Erzurum with a joy and happiness, Ozak said.

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I wish all the students success in the competitions, Ozak added.

Following the remarks of Turkish President Abdullah Gul that officially signaled the beginning of the games, eight athletes brought the flag of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) to the stadium and FISU's anthem was sung.

Meanwhile, the olympic torch was carried by Turkish national athletes Kenan Sofuoglu, Selcuk Cebi, Neslihan Darnel and Gizem Girismen.

Turkish dance group, Anadolu Atesi (Fire of Anatolia), began a show as part of the opening ceremony.

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TV channels from 80 countries showed the opening ceremony to their viewers live.

There is heavy snowfall in Erzurum on Thursday night.

The games will host nearly 3,000 sportsmen from 58 countries who will compete in a total of 11 branches; Alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, curling, ski jumping, cross
country, Nordic combined, snowboard, freestyle skiing, figure skating and short track.

Turkey will participate in the games with 152 athletes.

Officials said that the facilities built for Universiade 2011 constituted the biggest sports investment Turkey had made for a single sports event up until today, stating that construction of the venues had cost nearly 600 million Turkish liras (TL).

Erzurum 2011 Winter Universiade Games will end on February 6.

The next Universiade Games will take place in Maribor city of Slovenia in 2013.


Agencies

Last Mod: 28 Ocak 2011, 13:56
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