Sports priorities in the Union scale
Everybody knows what the “Soviet sports school” is. Belarusians and Russians multiply its best traditions today. They get together, take part in the contests and match meetings, win the biggest international competitions — world championships, the Olympic Games. Looking at their results, we rarely think that victories are rooted in school stadiums, yard playground and amateur teams. They don’t win prestigious awards, but they become real nuggets, on which sport reposes.
There are no pupils of physical culture schools and professional sportsmen among the participants of the competition under the aegis of the Union State. The phenomenal results are not achieved, but the Olympics organizers don’t chase them. “Our aim is to unite the amateur, mass sport in Belarus and Russia and to raise it to a qualitatively new level”, Pavel Nepriakhin explains the strategic objective, the head of the administration of the physical culture of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism. The attitude to the mass sport within the “Union scale” has been cardinally changed recently.
“Everything started in 2002”, Pavel Petrovich says. “We were called the Russian Federal Agency on Physical Culture and Sport at that time and we were looking for the ways of interaction in the sphere of mass sport. A sportive festival of the students of sports higher educational establishments of Belarus and Russia, which was held in December, 2002, became the first sign of our cooperation activation. Heretofore, it was limited only by the “Golden puck” tournaments, which finalists performed in analogous tournaments of the neighboring country. Starting from 2003, from the first Olympics of the Union State for children and youth, we constantly increase the number of conducted contests and invent something new. We started to conduct the swimming, track and field athletics contests for children and teens suffering from hearing disorder, tournaments for invalids and children-orphans, sports festivals for children living in the Belarusian and Russian regions which suffered from the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant most of all. Two big events were included into the Olympics program this year: a sportive festival of Belarusian and Russian schoolchildren was held in Smolensk in September. Streetball, track and field athletics, orienteering and swimming tournaments were held within its frames. The football festival “Kolosok” was held in our sports complex “Stayki” a little bit later where rural teams took part. Both tournaments gathered many children from the majority of Belarusian and numerous Russian regions.
“I suppose that their number will increase in future, won’t it”?
“Certainly. The number of contests will increase twice next year with the assistance of the Secretary of the Union State Pavel Borodin, and floorball is included into the list of sports of the program. The progress is obvious! Of course, only amateurs take part in our Olympics, but great achievements start with them. When we see how the girls team from a Belarusian agro-town Novaya Guta wins their well-grown rivals from Ural, we realize without saying that in 2002 we chose the right way. The children, equipped in the national team costumes by us, feel pride when the hymns of both states sound.
We are planning one more important project: competitions of industrial collectives. They are regularly held in Belarus today, but such tournaments disappeared in Russia after the collapse of the USSR. We couldn’t find the possibility to restore those traditions earlier, but now, after the establishment of the Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy in Russia, we hope for the changes. Agree, when the workers and directors of big enterprises meet on one football field, the cooperation between these enterprises comes to a completely different level!
The changes are expected in the sphere of sports and health tourism. Tourist meetings, sports, and applied combined events have recently become popular both in Belarus and Russia, and we shall use this tendency, show our possibilities for inbound tourism and to estimate Russian possibilities. In short, there are many plans and ideas. Their realization means new steps to rapprochement of our states.