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Sport Invitational Games

Impressions are amazing!

Cross-country skiing competitions at 50 m and 500 m distances tool place today at the Lokomotiv stadium within the framework of the Special Olympics Russia Winter Invitational Games in Kazan.

Almost 100 athletes went on the track. Despite sleety and rainy weather, the athletes could keep the combative mood.

“I've performed for two days. I did a 500 m distance yesterday and today. The rivals are strong, but I don’t give up. I want to fight. I think you should not feel sorry for yourself,” Nikolai Goloukhov, aged 26, an athlete from Arkhangelsk, opened up his mood. He said that he has been skiing for more than 15 years, now he trains at the Arkhangelsk Center for Adaptive Development. He often goes to the competitions and will hopefully show good results in Kazan.

“The organization of such competitions requires experience, and test competitions show where and what can be enhanced. But overall impressions of the event are amazing!” noted the coach of the Perm Krai team Nikolay Malafeev. For over 30 years, he has been teaching physical education in a special school, for over 20 years he has taken children to the Special Olympics movement competitions. Here in Kazan, there are four skiers and four snowshoers who came with him. “The weather is not very good today, but it’s better than frost. In cold weather, plastic skis run worse. Our guys seem to have “hit the suit”, let's see how they run. There are athletes of different training levels here, and this widens the experience of our students. Anyway, the main thing is that the Special Olympics principle is in place here, allowing everybody to have the opportunity of showcasing their achievements.”

“The air is humid; yesterday it was easier to breathe. However, nature does not have bad weather. At home, the snow falls and melts quickly, we need to have a quick time to train, so here I ski with pleasure,” 18-year-old Alexey Makarov from Ryazan smilingly comments on the atmosphere of today's competition. At competitions, he performs together with his twin brother Sergey. The guys say that they ski for themselves, but they love competitions a lot, because it allows them travelling the cities and countries, and communicating a lot.

“We came from the Republic of Bashkortostan. Our guys do like everything. It's great that the Special Olympics movement is growing. Pupils of all 26 republican schools for children with special needs are involved in the movement,” says Lilia Samsonova, a physical education teacher at the Tuymazy boarding school. “I do want our athletes to keep doing sport in the future. There is a Young Athlete program in the Special Olympics system and we great expectations for it. The athletes have a very developed mutual assistance and support. These are the core points in their social engagement and adaptation in society.

“The Invitational Games is a new step towards the development of social projects. As a skier, I am delighted that his special trend is reaching out to the wide mass society. Three teams from the Tatarstan regions participate in cross country skiing here,” said the representative of the Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon Federation of the Republic of Tatarstan, competition director Yevgeny Shebolkin. “It's great that these competitions are widely covered in the media and attract public attention. We possess vast experience in organizing competitions in summer sports. We will be able to hone our skills in winter sports these days, and next year it will be even more interesting and effective to host the events of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022.”