Posted: 18.06.2024 16:30:00

Games on a grand scale

The BRICS Games are all about sports and no politics

India and Brazil, China and Argentina, South Africa and Egypt, North Korea, Thailand, Türkiye, Iran, Burkina Faso and Mongolia… Athletes from three dozen countries — from the largest and most advanced ones to modest Eritrea stretching along the Red Sea — have already been noted among those who have won awards at the 2024 BRICS Games. A bright international sports festival is striding its way through Kazan, Russia. The leading roles belong to athletes from Russia and Belarus, who confidently hold the lead in the medal standings.
Valeryia Markouskaya, representative of Belarus’ national rowing team
Weightlifter Palina Paguliayeva will leave Kazan with bronze

Gymnast Yahor Sharamkou became the Games winner in floor exercises 

Synchronised swimmer Vasilina Khandoshka added gold to the silver medal

Tatsiana Khaladovich’s golden throw

Representatives of Belarus’ national karate team Volha Ramaniuk, Ulyana Markava and Viktoryia Rudzenchanka

While Paris, with just over a month left before the 2024 Summer Olympics, is shaken by demonstrations and riots, the BRICS Games showcase to the whole sane world that sport can be the same as it used to be — without admixture of political chemicals, clean and fair. While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to hunt witches, following the craziest traditions of medieval Europe, as well as to abuse athletes from Belarus and Russia, the organisers of the festive sports carnival in Kazan have welcomed everyone — right and left, conservatives and liberals, Buddhists and Muslims — under their roof with the inherent scale of hospitality. Flags are flying, anthems are playing and a truly friendly, vibrant Olympic atmosphere reigns at the BRICS Games. The atmosphere that the Western world, mired in dirty politics and cheating, has long forgotten about.
Belarusian athletes have been doing great! Having missed fair and grand-scale competitions, they are performing with a twinkle in their eyes and a great desire, demonstrating excellent physical fitness, which logically translates into high results and an abundance of medals. There is great competition literally in every sport represented in the programme of the Games, therefore the price of any award is incredibly high. It is not surprising that many athletes cannot hold back tears of pride and joy when standing on a pedestal and listening to their anthem. “When the medal was awarded and our anthem was playing, I was singing it and crying,” Belarusian weightlifter Alina Shchapanava, the champion of the 2024 BRICS Games, did not hide her emotions. “I felt such an adrenaline rush from the fact that I was able to cope with emotions… I am very pleased! I feel proud of myself and our country. It is an indescribable feeling!”
Representatives of Belarus’ national team have performed well in almost all disciplines. Thus, sambo athletes have confirmed the reputation of being one of the strongest teams in the world, while Vasilina Khandoshka has charmed everyone in synchronised swimming and won two medals at once — silver and gold. Yahor Sharamkou shone in artistic gymnastics — he has clinched gold in style in floor exercises, and bronze medals in the all-around and the vault — thus giving hope that even in this discipline, the situation is not so desperate in our country and the once glorious sport can regain its long-lost positions. Along with that, Belarusian track-and-field athletes and participants of the rowing competitions looked especially amazing.
The representatives of the queen of sports, who due to the irreconcilable position of the head of World Athletics, Brit Sebastian Coe, were subjected to particularly harsh pressure and absolute international isolation, were on a roll in Kazan: 30 medals in just two days — incredible success! Elvira Hrabarenka, Viyaleta Skvartsova, Aliona Dubitskaya, Tatsiana Khaladovich, Anastasia Maslova… All of them have shown that they are ready to represent Belarus at the highest level. The head of the Belarusian Athletics Federation, Ivan Tsikhan [two-time world champion and Olympic medallist in hammer throw], was pleased with the performance of his charges, as well as with the tournament as a whole, “Such competitions have been brewing for a long time and are just beginning to gain momentum,” the prominent Belarusian hammer thrower noted. “We see that these are the fifth anniversary BRICS Games, they have just started and what a scale they have! As I remember, there were either three or five sports in China, and now there are almost 30 sports in Russia. I think the world community will understand over time that the IOC has brought world sport to a dead end. Yet, the IOC does not want to make decisions that need to be made. All athletes should be on an equal footing.” 
Belarus’ national rowing team can also boast of an impressive medal haul. Our team has secured 15 awards at the BRICS Games, four of which are gold. The real leader was Alena Furman, who has gold and two silver medals on her account. This result of the Belarusian team is despite the fact that Tatsiana Klimovich and Yauheni Zalaty, who continue their preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympics, did not perform as part of the Belarusian national team at the BRICS Games. In recent years, our national team has been significantly rejuvenated — its average age is only 22 years old now, and the prospects are very serious, as we see. The success of the men’s eight has brought a lot of joy. That was the most spectacular and prestigious discipline of rowing, based on which it is customary to judge the development of sports in the country. You can draw your own conclusions. “We would like to perform even better and win even more gold medals. There were races where the athletes could take them, but the young guys lacked experience a little. We will continue to work,” summed up the head coach of Belarus’ national team, Vitali Bely. 
There are still many starts ahead at the BRICS Games, but already now, it can be said without prejudice that the big sports festival has taken place in Kazan and is a huge success. With this feeling and even greater interest, we will continue following the competitions and waiting for more victories from Belarusian athletes. Go ahead and win!

By Sergei Kanashits

Photos by Aleksandr Kulevsky