Paulo Ferreira, "I look forward to see what else will Krasnoyarsk surprise the world with"
Paulo Ferreira, FISU Director General, spoke about organisation of the Games, Siberian weather and opportunities for holding major sports events in Krasnoyarsk.
– In November 2013, FISU members chose Krasnoyarsk as the host city for holding the Winter Universiade 2019. Do you remember Krasnoyarsk bidding campaign?
– I was there when the decision was made to hold the Games in Siberia. I think the ambitions of Krasnoyarsk residents played a big role in this regard—they were much bigger than of the other cities. At the time when they chose the host city of the Winter Universiade 2019, I was working in the events department of the World Cup, but I heard a lot from my colleagues that Krasnoyarsk had the best bidding campaign.
– How many times did you visit Krasnoyarsk before the Winter Universiade 2019?
– The first time I came here was in January of 2019. Back then and during the Games, my work was related to protocol events. But my colleagues came to Krasnoyarsk 16-17 times each, and it was not only the inspection of the Winter Universiade 2019 sports venues, but also other no less important infrastructure—for example, Universiade Village, canteen for athletes, and so on.
– After the inspection visits, have any of your colleagues raised any concerns about the venues readiness for the Games?
– It was the opposite—they admired Krasnoyarsk. It is clear that in the run-up to any Universiade, there are issues that need to be resolved. That's why the test events were held—to check what needs to be corrected for the Games. After travelling to Krasnoyarsk, my colleagues noted that even the level of the test events organisation was higher than at the previous Universiade. The second thing they used to say after visiting your town was the severe frosts. Minus 30-40 degrees is very cold, and personally for me this weather was kind of a trial.
– In your opinion, what is the difference between the Games in Krasnoyarsk and other cities that hosted Winter Universiades?
– FISU has certain requirements that the Organising Committee of the competition is to follow. I want to emphasize that the Winter Universiade 2019 Directorate has not only fulfilled all these requirements, but even exceeded them. This applies to almost all venues of the Games. According to my colleagues, FISU Technical Committee Chairs, everything was done even better than during the preparation of Sochi for the Winter Olympics.
– What are your impressions of the main cultural platform of the Games—the Universiade Park? What did you like the most?
– I was impressed by the involvement of Krasnoyarsk citizens in the Universiade Park operation. The place attracted huge interest of the population. In addition, local traditions were presented in the Universiade Park, which, in my opinion, could become a good tradition of the Games.
– What impression did you get of the Siberians and Krasnoyarsk residents? Maybe, you've met some new friends?
– At first we, of course, built business contacts through e-mail and phone calls. But over time, the business relationship has grown into a more of a friendship. When I came here, I noted that all those with whom I had a chance to talk were not only friendly and open, they were also hardworking and attentive to the details, especially the staff of the Organising Committee. There is a negative opinion among foreigners that Siberia is somewhere far away, that it is always very cold here. But I've seen for myself that it's not like this at all. Moreover, I am sure that when the Winter Universiade 2019 participants returned home to Australia, Canada, Brazil and other countries, they destroyed the stereotypes about Russia among their fellow countrymen and told them what Siberia really was.
– How do you evaluate the opportunities of Krasnoyarsk holding other major sporting events?
– I think that Krasnoyarsk has good prospects. I suppose that these competitions could be Winter Youth Olympic Games, and, possibly, the Summer ones too. The most important thing is the knowledge accumulated by the Winter Universiade 2019 Directorate, as well as experienced staff and volunteers. All of this should be preserved and further developed.
– Is there a chance that you have already planned a trip to Krasnoyarsk with an unofficial visit?
– I would like to come here once again, of course. Sport contributes to the development of tourism. It is often the case that people first come to sports events and then return to the host city on vacation for example. I would like to thank your city for organising a wonderful celebration of university sports—the Winter Universiade 2019. I look forward to see what else will Krasnoyarsk surprise the world with.