Whether by coincidence or in a major drive to strengthen its position in international sport, Russia will host a number of important sport events over next six years:
The Rugby World Cup Sevens is taking place in Moscow from 28th to 30th June 2013.
The 14th World Championships in Athletics will be held from 10th to 18th August 2013 in Moscow.
Universiade, or the World University Games, will be held in Kazan from 5th to 17th July 2013.
The 22nd Winter Olympic Games next February will be held in Sochi, of course. The Games are already becoming the most expensive in its history as the spending on infrastructure and organisation is reaching 40 billion US dollars. I hope many British firms have been able to get involved too by providing the expertise needed to host this contest after delivering the London 2012 Olympic Games.
This is the second time the Olympics will be held in Russia. The first time, still under the USSR, Moscow hosted the 22nd Summer Olympic Games in 1980. The fact that both Russian Olympiads are 22nd in their corresponding numbering is staggering.
Compared to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the number of competing disciplines will increase by 12, making 98 as the total number of medal sets to be won.
It’s in the Russian government’s strategy to bring the country’s professional sport to a level which would put it to the top of the medals table by 2018. According to the most recent publications, it’s unlikely to achieve that, however, as we know Rome wasn't built in a day. Or as Russians say: “Москва не сразу строилась” – Moscow wasn't built at once.
Sochi is beginning to play a major part in international sport as Formula One races in 2014 - 2019 will be held in the Sochi International Street Circuit.
In 2015 the World Aquatics Championships come to Kazan in Russia. First organised in 1973, the event is now held every two years.
The 2016 Ice Hockey World Cup will take place in Moscow and St. Petersburg and 2018 will bring yet another major contest to Russia – the FIFA World Cup. Matches will be played across 11 cities and Russia will spend around 600 billion roubles (12 billion pounds) on preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. No doubt all of these events will introduce new projects in infrastructure, event management, security, marketing and other areas.
While on a trip to Moscow at the end of May, I have certainly noticed that the government is outlining sport among its priorities, especially for young people. I saw a major sports festival unravel, with games, exercises, competitions, accompanied by cheerleading and enthusing music, and nowhere else, but in Red Square itself!
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