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23 August 2019

Music, color and energy make a memorable opening to the 45th WorldSkills Competition in Russia

With an explosion of color, music and youthful energy, the 45th WorldSkills Competition has begun in spectacular style in Russia.

With an explosion of color, music and youthful energy, the 45th WorldSkills Competition has begun in spectacular style in Russia.

It was clear from the moment the teams entered the Kazan Arena to a roar of delight from the packed stands, that the Opening Ceremony for WorldSkills Kazan 2019 would be an occasion to remember.

Among those watching were the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev and Simon Bartley, President of WorldSkills and many other distinguished guests.

“Russia hosts a global-level skills competition for the first time, and we are very proud of that”, said Mr Medvedev.

“The WorldSkills Competition has become far more than just a youth contest. In fact, it has grown into a competition for the future, forming a diverse multicultural and international platform where participants can work, compete, and communicate.”

Mr Bartley told the competitors: “We have great expectations for the next days; our anticipation heightened by that marvelous opening ceremony and the sight of all those young people carrying the flags of so many nations, but also the hopes of their generation.”

“What they show, and what we say, loud and clear, is that Skills Change Lives, that they can transform societies and economies, and bring prosperity and stability across all the World’s continents,” he continued.

Teams from 63 countries and over 1,300 competitors paraded around the stadium to get the ceremony underway with a dazzling backdrop of synchronized thousands of colored light sticks waved by the excited audience.

As is the tradition, the national teams entered in alphabetical order, with Russia arriving last by convention, and with a huge cheer.

Dozens of costumed dancers waving national flags then performed on a circular stage dominated by a giant inverted pyramid in the center of the arena.

It was an evening of surprises, including an appearance by Sophia, the world’s most sophisticated human like robot, and her creator, David Hanson.

Sophia, the first non-human to be given a United Nations title, brought a message that the relationship between man and machine, in an age of increasing mechanization and artificial intelligence, could be one for good.

It was a positive view of the value of skills, and how they could change the world for the better, that ran through the evening, Young people were told though the lyrics of special composed songs that: “the future is in your hands.”

Well known Russian artists taking part included Yolka, Alexander Panayotov, Yan Ge, and the indie band Therr Maitz, along with around 300 dancers.

As the evening came to a conclusions the raising of the WorldSkills Flag, a group of three Competitors and three Experts were offered a traditional Russian welcome of bread and salt, with the unusual twist that the loaf had been backed from scratch during the ceremony in a mobile oven and grain mill that had circled the arena throughout.

It was followed by the swearing of the official WorldSkills Oath, in which Competitors and Experts pledge to take part with integrity and follow the organization’s values of.

The WorldSkills Competition is being held in Russia for the first time, and is the biggest yet, with Competitors taking part in 56 skills between August 22- 27 at the Kazan Expo International Exhibition Centre.

Around 250,000 visitors from Russia, Tatarstan and the rest of the of the world are expected to attend the Competition and the WorldSkills Conference 2019.