Russia 2018 Host Cities celebrate 1,000 days to go
The launch of the countdown clock in Moscow’s Manege Square signaled 1,000 days to go until the first FIFA World Cup™ to be held in Russia, with some Host Cities holding large-scale celebrations to mark the momentous occasion. The events were a demonstration of the country’s enthusiasm for the FIFA World Cup and its ability to welcome visitors and players just under three years from now.
Celebrations in Volgograd saw a new Russian record for mass keepie-uppies, with 209 volunteers, representing the number of FIFA member associations, engaged in simultaneous ball juggling at mid-day in the city's Square of the Fallen Fighters. Local residents and visitors to the region attended a student concert and enjoyed access to interactive Live Football areas.
In Yekaterinburg, celebrations were held in the Historical Square, Plotinka. Festivities included a flash mob in which almost 1,000 people came together to form the number '1,000'. The event was headlined by a performance from the city’s football freestyle team. Not even rain could stop the flash mob in Saint Petersburg where 1,500 people formed the number '1,000' in the stadium of the Lesgaft Saint Petersburg National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health on Dekabristov St.
Winners and participants of the final matches of the Kazan Amateur Football League pressed a countdown button symbolising the start of the 1,000 days to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, together with leaders of the Republic of Tatarstan and Kazan. In addition, celebrations saw the official tournament hashtag, #Russia2018, installed in the square in front of the Kazan Family Palace.
In Kaliningrad and several other cities, celebrations will run for three days, with residents visiting the countdown ceremony and the largest city picnic at the same time. A spectacular laser light show will conclude the event.
In Nizhny Novgorod’s Theatre Square, the Deputy Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, Dmitry Svatkovsky, joined children in releasing 1,000 balloons. Local musicians put on a concert for their community in the heart of the city, with the public participating in various competitions.
In Rostov-upon-Don, the 1,000 days to go landmark was celebrated by the staging of a number of football matches. Theatre Square hosted master classes and photo sessions, competitions involving FC Rostov players, a football freestyle show and the release of 1,000 balloons at 20:18. A sporting team parade marched down Bolshaya Sadovaya St to complete the evening.
The five-a-side football pitch in Samara on the Volga Embankment hosted a display of endurance, with two teams playing football against each other as part of the "1,000 days until dreams come true" marathon from 6:00am (local time) until 10:40pm. Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko, Samara’s own cosmonauts who are currently aboard the International Space Station, sent their best wishes for the occasion.
In Saransk, festivities also lasted several days with Aleksei Nemov, the city’s ambassador and four-time Olympic champion, playing a central role in the celebrations by hosting a health awareness class for local residents.
The main festivities in Sochi were held in the Medals Plaza Olympic Park with the city’s mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov, starting the countdown, local creative collectives performing and the evening closed by the singer MakSim.
The day was marked throughout Russia with more than 30 cities celebrating the occasion.
FIFA World Cup – welcome to Russia!