From Left to Right: IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel, IAAF Vice President Sergey Bubka, Vladimir Volkov, Interim Head of the Republic of Mordovia and Vladimir Sushkin, Mayor of Saransk at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup official Press Conference (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Speaking in presence of Vladimir Volkov, Interim Head of the Republic of Mordovia and Vladimir Sushkov, Mayor of Saransk, IAAF Vice President Sergey Bubka declared:
"I am delighted to be with you in Saransk, Russia for the IAAF World Race Walking Cup.
"Over the next two days we will celebrate the amazing talent of almost 500 race walkers who have gathered here from 62 nations. A participation record!
"Race Walking here in Saransk can be considered the number one sport because its citizens love race walking with a passion.
"Many of Russia’s elite walkers are based at Saransk’s 'Centre for Olympic Preparation’ which is the only performance centre in the WORLD solely dedicated to race walking.
"The capital of the Republic of Mordovia, Saransk is the second Russian city to play host to the IAAF World Race Walking Cup after Cheboksary held the 2008 edition.
"In Cheboksary, RUSSIAN ATHLETES took 8 gold medals - 4 individual and 4 team titles - and so the anticipation of RUSSIAN success is again high and is sure to create an electric atmosphere.
"Furthermore, Russian race walkers conquered all available World Race Walking titles at the Daegu World Championships in 2011, and two of the three Olympic race walking titles in 2008.
"I expect very large crowds of supporters tomorrow and Sunday for what will be a wonderful weekend of race walking action and I am sure you will all support and cheer for each and every race walker in the best spirit of fair play.
"I very much look forward to a successful World Race Walking Cup here in Saransk."