The 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens opened in Moscow on Friday.
Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset and Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko were among those present at the opening ceremony at Luzhniki Stadium, an Interfax reporter said.
Sobyanin read out a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the athletes and audience.
"I am sure that holding the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia will become an excellent boost for our rugby fans, will foster Rugby Sevens' popularity, and attract talented young people to the sport. I send my best wishes to all participants, and wish most pleasant and unforgettable experiences to the spectators," Putin said.
Lapasset also made a speech, being upbeat about the tournament, which finishes on Sunday.
Those present also received televised greetings from the International Space Station crew.
The current sixth Rugby World Cup Sevens edition is the first to be held in Moscow.
It brings together 24 men's and 16 women's teams from 28 countries - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Tonga, Tunisia, Uruguay, the United States, Wales, and Zimbabwe.
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