Officials, representatives of public organizations and sports enthusiasts have been discussing how various events could help to promote mass sports in Russia, as well as the construction of sports facilities, contests and other activities, at the UEFA EURO 2020 Host City Media Center.
Under the federal project, Sports as a Way of Life, the country is accomplishing an important task and creating favorable conditions for mass sports activities, Irina Osadchaya, Deputy General Director for Special Projects at National Priorities, explained.
"There are clear-cut benchmarks for this project: we must ensure that at least 70 percent of our people choose to go in for sports by 2030," Osadchaya added.
For this purpose, sports facilities, indoor skating rinks and ice arenas are now being built all over Russia. Since early 2021 construction work has been underway at 174 facilities, and as many as 135 sports facilities opened last year.
In 2020, National Priorities launched the national competition You are in the Game that involves about 2,500 people from various Russian regions. The goal of the contest is to popularize sports as a way of life and is implemented under the federal project Sports as a Way of Life, part of the Demography national project.
Members of the children's sledge hockey league won the contest and received one million rubles for a hockey project that will involve children with impaired health.
Ten projects received financial support within the contest's framework. All the participants will attend educational events, and specialists will help them implement creative ideas for promoting mass sports.
Conceived by Elvira Lesnichaya and Nadezhda Vasilyeva, the Football Moms project leads the way in the contest. This platform is called on to raise public awareness of a mother's role in raising football players, to popularize football in Russian cities, to expand opportunities for communications and for exchanging experience between mothers sharing similar values. The Football Moms contest, meetings and football matches are held as part of the contest.
"Mothers wanted to play football, and to be closer to their children, plus they wanted to understand what an attack is, what offside is and so on. And, well, why not? Since the mothers wanted all this, we put on a tournament," Lesnichaya said.
In turn, Nadezhda Vasilyeva added that there were plans to continue expanding this truly unique project.
"Of course, we would like to exchange experience with football mothers from Europe and, maybe, hold a tournament with the mothers of European football players," Vasilyeva noted.
In 2019, Yekaterina Kovalenko, a mother of three, received the Ms. Football Mom title in St. Petersburg. According to Kovalenko, she had sent the application for the contest herself, but her entire family believed in her and supported her.
"Considering I have three kids, I had to involve their grandmothers and my husband as well. They were all involved. I think I didn't miss a single event in a month and that made me happy. This project has turned my life around," Kovalenko said.
"Overall, 44.4 percent of St. Petersburg population, or 2.2 million people, are regularly engaged in sports, Deputy Chairman of the city Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports Andrei Khort said.
"In 2021, plans call for increasing this number by 200,000, that is, to 46.5 percent. By 2024, we would like 55 percent to be leading an active life style. St. Petersburg is confident and by 2024 it's going to increase the number of active people to 55.9 percent, while other regions strive to reach 55 percent. I'm sure we will succeed," he added.
Khort noted that the city had created a special tool for promoting mass sports. This implies physical fitness, sports and health centers at district administrations. The centers operate in various neighborhoods and prioritize mass backyard sports. The city now employs about 500 neighborhood instructors at such facilities.
Deputy Chair of the Committee for Social Policy Yelena Fidrikova noted that several regional programs aimed to improve the health of city residents. This includes financial support for families with newborn babies, the Social Nanny project, a district social inspector service and a project for supporting large families.
"We have many projects for supporting large families, which we are implementing consistently, because families that have three or more children are helping us change the negative trend," Ms. Fidrikova said.
St. Petersburg is also implementing programs to popularize sports and a healthy lifestyle, as well as a program for supporting pensioners.
"Regardless of all the difficulties it is important to understand that the results of a national project depend on each of us. Some might change their attitude toward sports and might become more active at local sports grounds, in a backyard or at a fitness center. Others might quit their bad habits right now," Fidrikova concluded.