Sports Programs

Children Compete in Russian Games and Non-Olympic Sports

St. Petersburg, Russia - A Festival of National Games and Non-Olympic Sports took place at the Zerkalny Suburban Center in St. Petersburg from July 18 until August 5. Promoting a healthy lifestyle, the "Zerkalyonok – A Sporting Kid" events attracted about 350 children from St. Petersburg and the Leningrad District. The participation of UPF in this program was organized by Pavel Toloshinov, head of UPF-St. Petersburg.

Throughout the festival, master classes and training in 20 non-Olympic sports took place; among them were flying model airplanes, Sambo wrestling (a form of martial arts developed in the Soviet Union), pneumatic pistol shooting, Latin-American dancing, and karate. Also children played the Russian bat game, grass hockey, other national games of Russia.

Thanks to the support of the Federation of Gorodki Sports of St. Petersburg, children were given a chance to play the traditional Russian game of gorodki, similar to bowling, in which players aim to knock out groups of skittles arranged in some pattern by throwing a bat at them. A master class was given by guest referee Sergei Karikov.

Children participated in a Challenge Cup competition, participating not only in sports but also in creative activities. One competition was to create a painting on the theme of "giving joy to children." The best art works were given to children’s homes, rehabilitation centers, and homes for senior citizens in the Leningrad region (Kirishi town, Pikalyovo village), Archangelsk region (Vilegodsky village), and Kaliningrad region (Zelenograd). This activity was initiated by the Universal Peace Federation.

The Governor of St. Petersburg, Valentina Ivanovna Matvienko, visited the camp program. She was interested in how the children were spending their time and also wanted to inspect large-scale construction going on at the camp. After construction is finished, the Zerkalny Camp will become the best sports training camp in all Russia.

Football was a popular sport at the camp. A delegation from St. Petersburg's Zenith Football Club presented an interesting and creative program for children. Also, a friendly football match took place between participants in the camp program and the visiting Aufwahe Karlsruhe youth team from Germany. The match was held in the spirit of the Play Football Make Peace program, which promotes a culture of peace, good sportsmanship, and a healthy lifestyle.

The festival closing was attended by the chairman of the regional department of the Russia Committee of Non-Olympic Sports from St. Petersburg, Petr Kazansky, and the Secretary General of UPF in Northwest Russia, Pavel Toloshinov.

Guests of honor congratulated children on behalf of the Russian national team that won first place among teams in the Eighth World Games in Non-Olympic Sports held in Taiwan July 16 – 26, 2009. Sponsored by the International Olympic Committee, the games drew 4,500 athletes from 100 countries.

Prize winners in the athletic events and creative competitions were awarded diplomas, trophies, and books about sports published by Soviet Sports.

The festival was supported by the Committee of National and non-Olympic Sports of Russia, the Soviet Sports publishing house, the Peoples of Russia Assembly, and UPF.

Next year, the organizers of the festival are planning to increase the number of national and non-Olympic sports represented. Children can develop skills in these sports at the Zerkalny camp and invite their friends from other regions of the country to participate.

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