27th Summer Universiade in Kazan,

July 6-17 2013

Four Nations Diving Meet starts in Kazan

Top athletes from Germany, Russia, Italy and Ukraine will battle for top spots on the podium during the three competition days. The international tournament is held in one of the key sports facilities of the city - the Aquatics Palace.

The Four Nations Diving Meet grand opening took place on Friday, December 6. Special guests at the ceremony were Tatarstan's Minister of Youth Affairs, Sports and Tourism Rafis Burganov, Secretary General of the Russian Olympic Committee Marat Bariev and first Vice-President of the Russian Diving Federation, repeat European and world champion and two-time Olympic champion Dmitry Sautin, who is the only one in the world to have 8 Olympic medals. 

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"Dear participants of the Four Nations Diving Meet, residents of Kazan, guests of our republic!" Rafis Burganov said in his welcome speech. "In less than two years Kazan will once again open its doors for another championship - the FINA World Championships. We are preparing for this event which will also include the diving tournament. It is a pleasure for us to host on our soil, at our aquatics venue tonight's Four Nations Diving Meet. This tournament is a test event in the lead-up to the championship."

For his part, Marat Bariev greeted spectators of the tournament on behalf of the Olympic Committee of Russia.

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"Dmitry Sautin and I always have had a dream that one day we will have a venue like the Aquatics Palace," admitted Marat Bariev. "And we have it now. I congratulate all residents of Kazan, citizens of Tatarstan that they have such facilities now."

The ceremony was preceded by a press conference dedicated to the opening of the diving meet. As is known, the tournament was approved by the LEN European Swimming League. The most powerful diving nations - Russia, Ukraine, Germany and Italy were selected as participants for the competition. 

"Kazan has proved itself worthy and everybody backed its candidacy when the question arose about where exactly the tournament will be held in Russia; everybody remembered Kazan at once because there is a terrific pool here. I am very pleased to be here again and to attend such international competition," said Dmitry Sautin. "The first tournament was held in Italy, the second was in Germany, and the third edition will take place in Kazan. I hope that the battle will be titanic. I'll be rooting for our athletes, and hope they will perform well and win."

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The Secretary General of the Russian Diving Federation, Anatoly Teplyakov, also took the floor after Sautin and said: "Kazan built such a pool that people visiting it are stunned by it. Therefore, we must express huge gratitude to all those in Kazan who were involved in it, who constructed this swimming pool, which now offers world-class facilities for hosting the competition."

The rivals are definitely the strongest. However, the Russian team is always psyched up for victory. The head coach of the Russian diving team, Oleg Zaitsev, talked about how the athletes had been gearing up for the championship  "It was pretty hard to gather the team that will be able to perform over the course of several days. There were a lot of injuries. We had to fix it as soon as we could. That's why we brought a team, half of which was made up of juniors, and today we will show the result of our hard work and you will assess it yourself."

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Over 50 big-name athletes will compete for top spots on the podium. The divers will battle in the 3m springboard and 10m platform, individuals and synchronized diving, at the traditional Four Nations Diving Meet. Day 1 already featured first victories. Russia's Olympic champion Ilia Zakharov took gold in the 3m springboard event: "The opponents are very strong. You heard during the parade how many titles and trophies they have. All boys are either runners-up or champions of Europe. These four countries are major rivals at the European Championships, and we will strain every sinew to win."

The German diver and Olympic medallist Sascha Klein ended up with the fourth-place finish: "Today's event is my first performance this year. Everything is fine. I placed fourth, now I'm going to train more so that to win at the next tournament."

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New victories will be achieved during the tournament. The diving meet comes to an end on December 8.

27 volunteers, 9 of which are part of the victory ceremonies team, 10 work in the Spectator Services position and 8 volunteers assist on the field of play, contribute the delivery of the tournament.

Media Department of Kazan 2013 Executive Directorate