27th Summer Universiade in Kazan,

July 6-17 2013

Yakub Kosovsky: Level of althletes at Universiade is very high

The head of the Polish delegation talked about what sports are currently popular in Poland and also declared that the European Football Championship is smaller in scale than Universiade.

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- Poland has a great many medals in sports such as rowing, beach volleyball, and athletic sports. What is this connected to? 

-It's connected to these sports being popular in Poland. We already have 12 medals in canoeing and kayaking and 6 in athletic sports. Beach volleyball has only just appeared in Poland, but there is already a training centre. Literally three weeks ago, the World Championship was held in our country. Our team showed good results there, and so we're here. The men's team took the gold, and the women's the silver. By the way, the women's beach volleyball team has a lot of promise. Because he girls are 21 or 22 years old and we can play again in Gwangju at the next Universiade.

- What is your assessment of the level of the participants in these games?

-They are very strong. There are good athletes in many sports, and I would even say that there are Olympic-level athletes. For instance, in gymnastics, athletic sports, rowing, academic rowing, and others.

- Are there any Olympic-level Polish athletes?

We have 10 to 12 athletes that participated in the 2012 Olympic Games. But the rest of the members of our delegations. In team sports like volleyball and basketball, members of the second team are represented. Things are such with us that only a few people from the younger group get into the main team. I think this is a good thing.

- What kind of plan for medals did you have? Did you complete it?

We counted on 20-25 medals, and we already have 28 of them. Today, the final volleyball competitions are still going on. Even if we lose, we'll have a silver, and that's already 29 medals. Today there's also a chance to win in Greco-Roman wrestling, and so there may be more. Honestly, this is the best result in the history of Poland's participation in the Universiade. In 2005 in Izmir, we had 28 medals, and now we have the same amount. But the competitions are continuing, so there will be more medals.

- Were there any difficulties in your time in Kazan?

At the start of the Universiade, practically our whole delegation was coughing. Maybe some kind of virus, I don't know, but that's how it was. But now everything is fine. There are no problems with accommodations or transportation. Everything is great, in my opinion.

- What you do think about the overall organisation of the Universiade?

These are my third World University Games. I was in Belgrade in 2009 and Shenzhen in 2011. In China, getting to the sports venues was not easy. Shenzhen is just a very big city with about 11 million people living there. So there were problems with transportation. That's not the case here, because all of the sports stadiums are either right downtown or easily accessible. It's only 20 minutes from downtown to the Universiade Village. Therefore in one day we can attend a few competitions in different sports and support out athletes.

- The 2012 European Football Championship was held in Poland. Did you participate in the organisation?

No, I was just a spectator. The Championship was very large. Of course, not as big as the Universiade 2013; there are 27 sports represented here with around 10 thousand participants. For comparison, there were only 16 participating teams in the Football Championship. Half the games were played in Ukraine, and the other half in Poland. However, the European Championship was not as large a competition as the Universiade in Kazan is.

- What does the Universiade mean to you?

It's a great time. As you know, this is my third Universiade; I've been the basketball team leader twice, and here I'm head of the delegation. I like this, because I can help my delegation resolve organisational problems, as well as meet people from other countries.

-What would you like to take home as a souvenir?

I haven't thought about that. I have three more days. Probably T-shirts and souvenirs with the Universiade's symbols.

- Have you managed to take a look at the city?

I was here before in April at a meeting of delegation heads. I didn't have any real time then. Two days ago, I was at Borovoe Matyushino where the beach is on the Volga River. I liked it a lot. I was also in the Kremlin, which looks fantastic. The buildings, the atmosphere, the cities – it's all very beautiful.

- Were your expectations of Kazan justified?

No. I thought that Kazan was a very small city, but now I see how big it is. With its skyscrapers and architecture – fantastic! 

Media Department of Kazan 2013 Executive Directorate