Students show their great sporting talents
Belarusian athletes claim a huge number of awards at Universiade, hosted by Kazan
By Dmitry Baranovsky
The tournament traditionally welcomes the strongest athletes among university students from all over the globe but, this year, the event had special significance. Within the year, Russia is to host the Winter Olympics, so the Kazan event was a ‘rehearsal’ for opening and closing ceremonies and for living and sports facilities for athletes arriving in Tatarstan.
Yuri Chuiko, who supervises the country’s national boxing team, notes that, in many aspects, the level of the athletes rivals that seen at European championships. However, our Belarusian team gave a good account, despite the competition.
Belarusian boxers have returned with two bronze awards, claimed by London Olympiad participant Mikhail Dolgolevets and Yan Sudilovsky. Our swimmers caused the major stir, thanks to double London Olympic medallist Alexandra Gerasimenya and one of the most promising Belarusian sportsmen Yevgeny Tsurkin, who earned 5 gold awards, while beating our national records more than once.
Belarusian rowers also did well. On the first day of the tournament, the women’s double sculls Irina Leparskaya and Yelena Krivosheenko claimed gold in the 2,000m (classical academic style). Later, rowers Tatiana Kukhta and Yekaterina Shlyupskaya took silver.
Track-and-field saw Alina Talay finish second in the 100m hurdles, making a weighty contribution on the eve of the World Championship in Moscow.
Belarusian wrestlers Marina Slutskaya (over 78kg) won bronze while Pavel Produkho (90kg classical) claimed silver and Alexey Sobol (over 100kg classical) bronze.
The performance of Belarus’ national volleyball team should be especially mentioned. The young Belarusian national squad managed to reach the quarter-finals of the tough tournament, where the players fought hard but were defeated by Koreans and Russians. In September, many of these athletes will debut in the European Volleyball Championship — first in the history of Belarusian volleyball.