Michel Belanger

July 1, 2013, KAZAN, Russia (CIS) – A number of Canadian athletes and teams posted solid performances at the national and international levels in recent weeks leading up to the 27th Summer Universiade, which are set to get under way on Friday in Kazan, Russia.

For one, the development men’s basketball national squad, coached by senior national team bench boss Jay Triano, went a perfect 9-0 at the Four Nations International Invitation Tournament in China from June 8 to 17, including three wins over the USA by scores of 75-73, 86-62, and 95-93 in double overtime.

Canada is coming off a silver-medal finish at the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen, China, and is set to play its opener in Kazan on July 7 against Sweden.

In athletics, 10 standouts who will compete in Kazan punched their ticket to the 2013 IAAF world championships (Moscow, Aug. 10-18) thanks to their performances at the Canadian Nationals, which wrapped up on June 23 in Moncton, N.B.

The list includes Kimberley Hyacinthe (200m), Julie Labonté (shot put), Noelle Montcalm (400m hurdles), Christabel Nettey (long jump), Shawnacy Barber (pole vault), Evan Dunfee (race walk), Sam Effah (100m), Inaki Gomez (race walk), Tim Nedow (shot put) and Ben Thorne (race walk).

In beach volleyball, a trio of Universiade-bound athletes reached the podium at world championships in June.

First, Taylor Pischke and Melissa Humana-Paredes, who will team up in Kazan, claimed bronze at the FIVB under-23 Worlds in Poland. Two weeks later, in Croatia, Grant O’Gorman, who will play with Samuel Pedlow at the FISU Games, partnered with Aaron Nusbaum to capture silver at the U21 Worlds.

Finally in swimming, 13 Universiade team members were recently confirmed for the FINA world championships which will be held in Barcelona from July 28 to August 4, including Katerine Savard, Tera Van Beilen, Savannah King, Sandrine Mainville, Brittany MacLean, William Brothers, Richard Funk, Alex Page, Russell Wood, Chris Manning, Coleman Allen and Tommy Gossland.

Kazan will host the FINA Worlds in 2015.

The 27th Summer Universiade kick off on Friday, July 5 with Canadians in action in badminton, diving, synchronized swimming, women’s soccer (vs. Mexico), men’s soccer (vs. France) and men’s water polo (vs. Russia).

Also on Friday, Team Canada will announce its flag-bearer for the opening ceremonies during a team reception which will be attended by a number of Canadian and Russian officials, including the Honourable John Sloan, Canada’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

Team Canada website:

Team Canada Twitter: @CDNUniversiade

Summer Universiade website:

The opening ceremonies are set for Saturday night at Kazan-Arena Stadium, the largest stadium in the Volga Region with a capacity of 45,000 spectators.