Universiade Village – KFU’s student campus – is ringing with voices, laughter and marching feet, as contestants for IOI 2016 arrive en masse.
We met with some of the contestants from Azerbaijan and Finland to learn about their first impressions of Kazan and KFU.
- Hello everyone – is this your first time in Russia?
Alakbar Askarov (Azerbaijan): We’ve actually all been in Russia recently, in Perm for the Olympiad training courses.
Kalle Luopajärvi (Finland): Both me and my teammate Hannes Ihalainen have been to Moscow.
- And have any of you ever taken part in an IOI before?
Kalle Luopajärvi: I’m a veteran – I’ve already been to the International Olympiad in Informatics three times.
Rustam Aghaev (Azerbaijan): I took part in IOI 2015 last year in Kazakhstan. I also won a medal at the XI International Zhautykov Olympiad in Mathematics in the same place.
- If you don’t manage to win, will you be happy with at least a medal?
Alakbar Askarov: Yes – a ‘podium finish’ would certainly be enough, but we realise it’ll be very tough.
Juha Harviainen (Finland): We all hope to win medals, and will try very hard to do so.
- I realise you’ve practically only just arrived in Kazan, but have you managed to form any impressions of the city, or of the Universiade Village?
Alakbar Askarov: No real impressions yet – we arrived at 3 o’clock in the morning and went straight to bed, but I hope we’ll see a lot of interesting things on the excursions. As for the Universiade Village: conditions here are wonderful – very beautiful and comfortable. It’s not what we expected!
Pietari Kaskela (Finland): We’ve already managed to see the Kremlin – the architecture there is very beautiful and ancient. The Kul-Sharif mosque was especially impressive. We also walked along Bauman Street pedestrian zone – we all liked how clean and orderly it was. And we were really surprised by how well-equipped the rooms are at the Universiade Village – we’ve never seen anything like it!
- Was it difficult training for the Olympiad?
Rustam Aghaev: Yeah – difficult and long – we’ve trained for almost a year, all together. Though some of us started earlier, and others later.
- Do you have any mascots or good-luck charms?
Hannes Ihalainen: We did – a little rug with the Finnish flag on it – but something always seemed to happen to it (we nearly lost it a few times because we kept forgetting about it), so we didn’t bring it this time.