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23 August 2019

Music, colour and energy signal the start of WorldSkills Kazan 2019

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

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

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

Among those watching this spectacular event were the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev and Simon Bartley, President of WorldSkills.

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,” 

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

He added:
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.”

As is the tradition, the national teams entered in procession, 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 centre 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.

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 conclusion with the raising of the WorldSkills Flag and 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 baked from scratch during the ceremony in a mobile oven and grain mill that had circled the arena throughout the opening ceremony.
Notes for Editors

  • The WorldSkills Competition is being held in Russia for the first time, and is the biggest yet, with more than 1,300 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.
  • The extended highlights of the opening ceremony are now available at