For many, Monday is the beginning of the working week, but for those at the XXVIII International Olympiad in Informatics, it signalled a break.
Contestants and everyone else at the Olympiad used their downtime with a purpose: they were taken on a bus tour of some of Kazan’s sports facilities, as well as on a walk along the waterfront from the Farmers’ Palace to the Kazan National Cultural Centre.
During the tour, guests were told about the various international competitions to have been held in Kazan, such as the XXVII Summer Universiade in 2013 and the XVI FINA Aquatics Championship in 2015. Kazan will of course play host to several matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Kazan is considered to be the sports capital of Russia: the city is home to sports clubs competing in the top divisions of their respective disciplines and often highly decorated. Guests heard about AK Bars hockey club, Rubin Kazan football club, Uniks basketball club and other successful Kazan-based teams. In terms of public access to sport, guests were told all about the Tennis Academy, Badminton Centre, Wrestling Palace and Kazan-Arena football stadium, as well as a wealth of other sporting facilities.
The bus tour ended beside the Farmers’ Palace, at which point guests were taken on a rather long walk along the Kremlin waterfront. Here they were given the chance to have a go riding bicycle-taxis, roller-skates and bicycles, or just walk and chat – many discussed what they had seen and took plenty of photos of their surroundings. And at the end of the walk, just before they got on the bus, there was to a flash mob where contestants and volunteers spelled out the letters I-O-I and were photographed from a quadcopter.
The day’s exploring left guests delighted. “Everything’s great here!” enthused Nigerian contestant Tanitoluwa Adebayo. “Great sport, and you can play it in modern, beautiful buildings which have everything you need. And the waterfront was lovely – so clean and beautiful! The bicycle-taxis – those are for locals and tourists, yeah? Wonderful – you can ride and relax at the same time.”