Statements, interview

"The choice is quite logical"

Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev told the Interfax news agency about the First All-Russian Forum "Russia - Country of Sports", which just came to a close in Kazan, and gave a detailed account of the development of sports in Tatarstan

Mintimer Sharipovich, recently the First All-Russian Forum "Russia - Country of Sports" finished its work in Kazan. Why did this event take place in the territory of Tatarstan?

- The choice of Kazan is quite logical. In recent years, our republic’s achievements in sports made it well-known. First of all, it concerns team sports. Our teams are Russian champions, winners of the first Gagarin’s Cup and the Continental Hockey League Cup. I am referring to Ak Bars hockey team, victories of our football players of Rubin, who recently beat the famous FC Barcelona. Our volleyball club Zenit as well as our basketball players, water polo, field hockey and several other sport teams can also boast their successes.

All these successes are not accidental. They are all results of a daily hard work and not only of the coaching staff, but also of a clear and logical athletes training system. Without any exaggeration, Kazan has become a capital of sports. We do not save on the construction of sport facilities and sport grounds, realizing the importance of the full physical development in the athletes training process. The health of our citizens, their physical activity became a priority policy of the authorities of our republic.

The forum was held at a high representative level and brought together federal government members, heads of foreign and domestic sport federations, Russia's famous athletes and coaches. Altogether - more than a thousand participants directly related to the development of physical culture and sports. As part of the forum the meeting of the Presidential Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sports was held. We had something to show and something to tell, especially taking into consideration the fact that the World Summer University Games in 2013 will take place in Kazan. The construction of the sports facilities and the necessary infrastructure to receive thousands of athletes and guests of the University Games is already put on a wide scale in our capital.

- What did the hosting of this significant forum give the Republic of Tatarstan?

- For us it was important to consolidate the sport image of our capital and the republic as a whole. It is encouraging that the physical culture and sports are in the center of state policy. This very important aspect can not be procrastinated, because it is all about our nation's health, its harmonious physical development. In many countries, the healthcare of people begins with the physical education and sports, which have become very widespread. We are not only talking about the sport at a higher competitive level and ictories in different world championships and the Olympics. Above all, we want the necessity in an active lifestyle to get implanted into our society and the people of our country to be healthy in body and spirit. The fact that the Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sports is established under the Head of State is an evidence of this aspect becoming a part of the state policy nowadays.

Today this problem is pressing as never before. We live in a free society, where along with an enormous positive potential there are substance-abuse related problems, especially among the young people, which can not be kept within any restrictive or prohibitive bounds. Therefore, the government policy in promotion of a physically active lifestyle and healthy habits is very important. Therefore, the country very timely declared itself and the rest of the world that Russia should be a country of sports, and we must be inspired with this spirit.

- As head of state, you have to set an example [in sports]...

- I like to swim and I swim regularly, I always do it with pleasure. I try to go swimming every day. I even calculated that annually I cover over four hundred kilometers. This has become my way of life. And it must be inculcated in our children and grandchildren, who spend hours in front of their computers or watching television. Adults and parents must serve as an example to them.

The morning gymnastics led by the ministers and well-known masters of sports became customary at the national television and radio of our republic. Thus, they set an example for the viewers, who try to imitate them, gradually developing a liking for the physical education. A lot of negative information and stress accompany our life everyday, so people have to be able to resist them physically and morally. An active lifestyle should become iconic for our country, where everyone must develop a need to move.

Moscow. October 27, 2009. INTERFAX.RU