There is one month left before the beginning of the International Children Games.Ufa has been preparing for this great sport event for two years. The members of the Games Technical Committee have visited the capital of the Republic (of Bashkortostan) this week. They have examined the sport facilities which would be used during the competitions and verified their compliance to the safety regulations. We have met with Avi Benbenisti, the ICG Organizing Committee and the Technical Committee Member and discussed the readiness of the city.


With city Vice-Mayor Rustem Gazizov (right)

- You have already been to Ufa in 2015. Has it changed since your last visit?

- Ufa is a wonderful city! I am glad that the ICG will take place here this year.  Yes, I was in this city and back then no one knew where the 53rd Games would be held. However, even this small visit made me understand that the city is clean, comfortable and full of kind and welcoming inhabitants. When I saw Ufa in the list of applicants in 2017, I supported it with great pleasure.

- Four years passed, of course, Ufa has changed in a positive way. New buildings and districts caught my eye, the city became bigger, wider and it continuous to develop. In addition, I noticed many flowerbeds and trees all over the city, it is like a cozy green corner of our Planet. I think the young athletes would love it and they will find new friends here as well as did. The objective of the Games is not only to reveal the best sportsmen but also to give them an opportunity to visit other cities and to get acquainted with children from different countries. For some of them it might be the only trip to Russian, to Ufa, after the end of the Games they will stay for couples of days to go sightseeing, and they will do the same in Moscow. I hope that all participants will have a good time, meet new friends and the question ‘who is the best and is not good enough’ will be of no importance.

- There is a month left before the beginning of the Games. Is Ufa ready for carrying out such a great sport event?

- The city is already prepared for meeting the guests not only in terms of service, but also for conducting the top-level competitions. We have been constantly monitoring constantly the readiness of the facilities by reports and presentations, our representatives came regularly to negotiations with the heads of the city and the Organizing Committee. So I can say with no doubts that Ufa takes all the responsibilities for the organization of the International Children Games.

- You are participating in the ICG as a referee as well. What sport will it be? 

- I have been playing basketball for many years and then worked as a coach. This year the classic basketball has been changed to the streetball. I got a chance to see the trainings of our team – they are working hard. As far as I know 9 teams form different cities of Israel are participating in the ICG this year. So I think this would be one of the most numerous biggest delegations. This is why I am going to be a referee of streetball. 

- What else is changed this year? 

- The classic volleyball has been changed to the beach volleyball. We have decided that it will be more interesting for the children to play in a less formal climate, for them to feel free because the rules are simpler. We were trying to make as much comfort for the children as possible.

And among the changes I would like to highlight the online registration system. It was first launched in 2016 in Innsbruck, Austria and it had been actively used in Israel. The system was designed for the children to know the opponents – where are they from and how they look like, to be aware of them. Moreover, this system simplified the applying process. In general, we want to have more participants. 

- The safety question is the hot one. Of what the organizing committee should take care at the first place? 

- The children’s safety is the key question of every developed country and I am sure that it is so in Russia as well. Crossing the country or the city’s border a child is under its legislation’s protection. When I was an organizer of the ICG in Israel I was sure that every child can feel comfortable and feel no fear of self-safety, because I know the country and its laws. I am sure that there will not be any issues about it. 

- What are you going to take for your relatives as gifts? 

- When I first told my children about the trip to Ufa, they asked me to bring them the souvenirs with pictures of the city. They wanted to be the first to see Ufa in which the ICG will take place. And I will surely buy something of the national dished and drinks. 


By Alina Garipova