‘We come to share a bit of ourselves’: Olympics champions go to Nizhnekamsk
Olympic Patrol arrives in Tatarstan’s petrochemical capital under the aegis of Nizhnekamskneftekhim
Nizhnekamsk became Russia’s first city Olympic Patrol visited after a long break because of the novel coronavirus infection. Two-time Olympic water polo medallist, Russian State Duma deputy Irek Zinnurov, Olympic figure skating champion Yekaterina Bobrova, Olympic athletic champion Irina Privalova, world boxing champion Gleb Baksha came to the petrochemists’ capital. The sports and educational event took place under the aegis of Nizhnekamskneftekhim together with Russia’s Olympic Committee. The famous athletes told young Nizhnekamsk citizens about secrets of success and gave them masterclasses. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
“It is the best day of my life”
The meeting with the Olympic champions took place at Neftekhimik FC’s upgraded football stadium. Spectators — pupils of the city’s sports schools — occupied their seats in the stands long before the event began.
“It is the best day of my life! I have been overcome with emotions since the morning. I can’t believe I will see Olympic champions with my own eyes. I am very excited,” young athlete Maria Tolkachyova admitted to Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent.
The stands welcomed the appearance of the famous athletes with a big round of applause. Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s management came to the solemn opening ceremony of Olympic Patrol project. Delivering a speech in front of the audience, Director General of the company Ayrat Safin noted that there were created all conditions in the enterprise to do sport for both children and adults.
“It isn’t accidental that Olympic Patrol is held under the aegis of Nizhnekamskneftekhim. Our enterprise is the sportiest in Russia’s petrochemical sector. We endorse amateur and elite sport. Our results are very good. Nizhnekamskneftekhim has become an absolute champion 24 out of 26 times among the Russian Chemists’ Trade Union’s enterprises of the petrochemical sector,” Ayrat Safin said proudly.
According to him, there was created powerful sports infrastructure at Nizhnekamskneftekhim: Neftekhimik sports venue, two ice palaces (for 6,000 and 2,000 seats), Druzhba sports venue, Fakel gym, Almash training base, The Olympian sports and recreational camp, a shooting range. Moreover, all these sports venues are maintained with the company’s money, everyone can do sport there.
“Nizhnekamskneftekhim will always support you”
What is more, four Neftekhimik children and youth sports schools and classes of Neftekhimik sports club are based at the company’s venues. 70 highly qualified coaches in 17 sports work there. About 2,500 children attend the classes.
“Today is a unique day. We have a chance of talking with the legends of Russian sport, people who forged the victory, brought Olympic medals to our country. I hope you will learn a lot of new information, look and remember. We wait for you in sport. Nizhnekamskneftekhim will always support you,” Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Commercial Director Timur Shigabutdinov assured.
“I want to express my profound gratitude to Russia’s Olympic Committee for making Nizhnekamsk the first city Olympic Patrol has visited after the pandemic. Many thanks to Nizhnekamskneftekhim managers for their contributions to developing sport. Thanks to our guests for making time and coming here today,” two-time Olympic water polo medallist, Russian State Duma deputy Irek Zinnurov thanked.
By the way, Russia’s Olympic Committee and Nizhnekamskneftekhim established friendly relations during the coronavirus pandemic. In June the petrochemists handed over 30,000 protective masks that were necessary to resume training to the Committee.
“During the pandemic, Nizhnekamskneftekhim solemnly handed over the Russian Olympic Committee personal protection equipment for Russia’s sports federations. The masks were handed out to all athletes. This is why it was made a decision to hold Olympic Patrol in this amazing city. Strong sports infrastructure was created here. All venues are at the top level,” representative of the Russian Olympic Committee Nelli Filippova shared impressions with Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent.
According to her, Olympic Patrol is a part of the programme facilitating the development of the mass sport of the Russian Olympic Committee named Olympic Country. Over 180,000 children and teenagers of Russia, over 200 Olympians of Russia, winners and medallists of international competitions from more than 30 Russian regions participated in the project from July 2014 to December 2018.
“Nizhnekamsk has a future in sport”
After the official opening, Olympic Class took place. The young athletes could ask their idols questions in a relaxed atmosphere. The first question from the stands was for Irek Zinnurov. The lads asked him if one could miss training. The stadium burst into laughter.
“I wouldn’t like you to bunk off the classes,” he replied. “This can be done due to illness or for another good reason. As a coach, I don’t welcome it.”
Olympic athletic champion Irina Privalova admitted that she would miss training in childhood, she particularly disliked long distances, but after growing up she began to take sport more seriously.
“How have you achieved such a success?” young athletes asked Yekaterina Bobrova.
“It is a totality of many life moments. I began to win first places and I liked to win. I wanted to become better. I liked that my parents and friends were proud of me. One shouldn’t sit on one’s laurels, one should always go forward,” the famous athlete said.
The children were raising their arms interrupting each other to ask their idol a question. The champions tried to reply to everyone.
“I am proud of the kids that they live in a city that loves sport. Nizhnekamsk has a future in sport. There are very good athletes here, including in athletics. When we come to a city, there is mutual enrichment. We learn a lot from children, from coaches,” Olympic athletic champion Irina Privalova noted.
After talking with the champions, athletes of sports schools participated in quests and quizzes. The mass sports and educational events ended with masterclasses that took place at Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s sports venues — Neftekhim Arena ice palace and Druzhba sports venue — and, of course, with autograph signing and a group photoshoot.
“I want to say on behalf of all athletes who travel together with Olympic Patrol that we do it with great pleasure. We come to share a bit of ourselves, our mastery. We give 150% and want the lads to do this,” Yekaterina Bobrova said.
“Today we’ve come and saw there the interest in sports is high here. It means there will be a result. The youth are very good, they have a future in sport,” world boxing champion Gleb Baksha said with confidence.
According to the champions, after Nizhnekamsk Olympic Patrol plans to visit other Tatarstan cities.