Last year, the Summer International Children's Games took place in Jerusalem, Israel. And today, we decided to reflect on how it was and to talk to the participants to find out about the role ICG played in their lives. 

Came for a "gold"

In August 2018, 13 Ufa athletes returned home with six medals. They represented the region's capital in three sports: judo, fencing, and track and field.

The first medals were earned by judoists Aleksandr Pavlov and Nail Gareev from sports school "Batyr," as well as Arsenty Voevodin from "Hercules."

Nail and his coach

Nail and hic coach Solomon Kobiashvili

"It has already been five years that I am in this sport. It was my father who took me to school; himself, he used to be keen on martial arts. Judo develops strength along with stamina and character. Therefore, I want to continue fighting," said silver medal holder Nail Gareev. "For me, ICG were also significant because there I found a lot of friends from different countries such as Costa Rica, Canada, Germany, and I keep connection with them to this day.”

"How hard was it to become second?”

"The opponents, of course, were very well prepared. But I would not say that it was very difficult because I lost by accident only. I competed with participants from Holland, Israel, and in the final stage I wrestled with a Lithuanian.”

Nail will defend the honor of Ufa this year as well. Now, he is actively preparing for the upcoming competition.

"I pratice five days a week: the coach tracks my lifestyle and nutrition. I can say that mentally and physically I am ready for the competition. I aim for "gold" only."

In 2019 Games, he will compete shoulder-to-shoulder with the students of sports school "Batyr" Egor Kalenov and Aliya Mukhametyanova.

Looking up to the best

Emil Faiziev, Ilya Popovtsev, Egor Aldoshin, Polina Khaertdinova, Anastasia Golubkova, and Anastasia Kazakova excelled in fencing.

In track and field, outstanding were Adelina Khusainova, Polina Voronina, Darina Yurmasheva, and Danis Islamov.

"Each member of our team, having visited these competitions, came back with substential experience. The competition was tough: the most prominent athletes from around the world come there. Not only we had impressions and new acquaintances, but also understood what to work on further.  I could perform better, but after the Games I was motivated to go to my goal against the odds," said athlete Polina Voronina. "In Jerusalem, we met with the locals. They know Russian quite well, and there were no major problems in communication.”

Polina and Darina

Polina Voronina and Darina Yurmasheva

There were many runners among the participants, so it was not an easy task to beat the opponents

“Before the Games in Ufa, there was a selection contest at the Republican Competitions. They paid attention to the leaders of the season: Adelina Khusainova and I were among the first to be included in the list of the ICG participants.”

Polina has been in track-and-field for four years and was attracted to sport by her coach.  After a few lessons, the new athlete was sent to her first competitions, where she realized that running is exactly what you can devote your life to. A few years later, she was able to try herself at the International Children's Games.

"My recent achievement in track-and-field is the first category certificate at the distance of 60 m. I also have decent results at a distance of 400 m, which I ran in Jerusalem. I was practicing hard before the competition by a recent injury diminished results coupled with the agitation I had before the start. Taiwan athletes performed well. There are strong track-and-field athletes in Russia too, such as Olesya Soldatova, born in 2002. She is the fastest in 400 meters, and she has well-developed technique. She is someone to look up to".

Performing at our best

Fencer Anastasia Golubkova also participated in the 52nd International Children's Games and earned a silver at the team event.

“I cannot find words to describe the impressions: I liked everything. At the competitions of high level like this, the atmosphere is different. For the first time ever, I had a chance to try myself at an international competition. At the individual event, I could be a winner too but I lacked experience to prevail. There are no weak or average there: only the best athletes compete in the Games, and I realized that I can achieve more to which end I will put all my efforts.”

As Anastasia revealed, she ended up in this highly intellectual sport by accident. She came together with a friend and learned to use foil before she could realize it.

Anastasia Golubkova

“That it is so spectacular is what fascinated me most.  Fencing teaches patience and discipline as well as develops stamina. To me, it is not just a temporary hobby but a life-long career. Now, we are practicing six times a week because of the regular competitions ahead. In May, I will be awarded the title of sports candidate which will testify to my skill.”

“What would you advise to those who compete for the region’s capital in 2019 ICG for the first time?”

“I would advise to fear not. Agitation at this kind of major competition may keep you from leading. Therefore, do your best and stay confident about what yourself: if they trusted you to defend the honor of the city, then you can achieve high".