What University Games, Deaflympics and some summer competitions will be replaced with?
Three large-scale competitions this season
Athletes from Russia and Belarus continue actively competing even though in many sports disciplines they aren’t allowed to compete internationally. Home competitions whose level is raised to that of international ones come to the rescue. Journalist of Realnoe Vremya’s sports staff Jaudat Abdullin talks about three competitions at once that took place and will be held in Ufa, Yekaterinburg and Belarus since late July to mid-August.
Summer Deaflympics in Ufa
The Summer Deaflympics ended in Ufa on 2 August — it is a competition for athletes with impaired hearing. Russian athletes of this level had to miss last year’s Deaflympics in Brazil’s Caxias do Sul but Russian organisers found a way of replacing the competition the athletes missed by organising Summer Deaflympics under the slogan of We are Together. Sport. Athletes from 30 countries competed in 21 sports. Curiously, the Deaflympics was due to be held in Kazan. The issue was discussed as early as September 2016 when the Tatarstan capital hosted the World Deaf Shooting Championships. Then President of the International Deaflympic Committee Valery Rukhledev said that the competition in 2017 would take place in Turkey’s Samsun and 2021 was vacant.
It is noteworthy that by organising the Deaflympics Russia demonstrates an example because earlier athletes with impaired hearing had to miss the 2011 Winter Deaflympics scheduled in Slovakia. This competition, by the way, became one of the first that wasn’t held without any compensation. This year “special athletes” who were going to compete in Kazan turned out not to have large-scale winter competitions. However, athletes competed but only within the Solidarity Games of the Special Olympics (from 21 to 27 January this year) when 2,000 people competed in eight winter and 10 summer sports. Representatives of Russia and Belarus turned out to be compensated the non-participation in the Summer Special Olympics in Germany’s Berlin this June. But special athletes competing in winter disciplines didn’t have any international contest by not coming to Kazan in January and not seeing any “compensation” from the international organisation.
CIS Games in the Republic of Belarus
Realnoe Vremya wrote that international sports organisation didn’t manage to hold the Winter and Summer University Games in 2021, Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2022. And these days Australia refused to host the Commonwealth Games at home in advance.
The British Commonwealth has another three years to find a country to host the sports competition, while the Commonwealth of Independent States didn’t have such a problem even though the CIS Games are held once in two years, whereas the Commonwealth Games are hosted according to the Olympic schedule, once in four years.
Belarus is the second to hold large-scale competitions after the debut of the CIS Games in Kazan in 2021. And there are many differences from Kazan here because Belarus will host the competition with the whole country. Minsk will have athletics, modern pentathlon, rhythmic gymnastics and another five sports disciplines. Two competitions will take place in Brest (handball and swimming) and Grodno (weightlifting and field hockey). Borisov will have futsal, judokas will compete in Gomel, Thai boxing is scheduled to be in Vitebsk, sambo is in Zhlobin, beach volleyball is in Molodechno, all sports wrestling sports will be in Soligorsk — freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s wresting.
The competition expands to cities several cities at once — this isn’t the only difference from the CIS Games in Kazan. Besides, in fact, CIS members, Belarus, Russia and Moldova, Azerbaijan and Armenia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, representatives of remote countries plan to compete too. Moreover, the CIS Games in Kazan were for juniors, while in Belarus the competition will be mixed. For instance, members of national teams will compete in weightlifting while juniors will be swimming. And this will allow participants in the Russian Swimming Cup that ended in Kazan not to rush from the Tatarstan capital to the capital of Belarus. It can be logically assumed that the division into senior and junior competitions took place depending on what sports disciplines athletes from Belarus and Russia need to be compensated the non-participation in international competitions.
Yekaterinburg instead of Chengdu
The Russian Youth Athletics Championship ended before the start of the Russian Cup. This reminded us the Olympic programme, however, swimming competitions are held during the first week of the Games while athletics goes after. The hosts won three gold medals: Serafim Solodovnikov in the 400m hurdles, Ranel Shafikov in pole jumps and Liliya Akhmergareyevs in triple jump. Yulianna Feschenko is second in heptathlon. Since the athletes are under 20, one could assume that the best athletes could compete in Yekaterinburg at the International University Sports Festival from 7 to 19 August with competitors for BRICS, CIS and SOC countries. But the competition programme doesn’t have athletics.
With this competition, the Urals will reply to the taken away opportunity to host the Summer University Games that kicked off in Chengdu, China. Representatives of 14 sports disciplines will compete in Yekaterinburg. Since the sports programme in China consisted of 18 sports, many strongest university athletes will go to Chengdu but Yekaterinburg can hope for quite spectacular competitions in boxing and in all wrestling contests as well as futsal and street ball, which will replace classical basketball. Plus sambo as one of the priority sports disciplines for big competitions in Russia. These sports weren’t represented in Chengdu, so the best athletes can come to Yekaterinburg. Futsal, which is very popular in this region, will be one of them. Only water polo players are still deprived after missing two world championships, one European championship and the World University Games now since last year.
Apart from athletes, Yekaterinburg won’t have artistic gymnastics, but here our athletes can rely on the promised voiced by President of the Tatarstan Artistic Gymnastics Federation Marat Bariyev about holding matches with rivals from China in Kazan in autumn. Summing up the list of sports competitions Russia and Belarus are compensating for the tournaments their countries’ athletes cannot compete in, we will note that last year’s practice of Solidarity Games and the Spartakiade of the Strongest goes on this year by expanding and updating the programme of the CIS Games and the International University Sports Festival.