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12 August 2019 | in NUSF News

From school to university: how Belarus tracks its student athletes

Sport is a crucial part of student life, says Vitaly Strigelsky, Director of the Republican Center of Sport and Physical Education for Pupils and Students (RCSPS), FISU’s Member Federation in Belarus. They work closely with the Belarusian Association of Student Sports (BASS) to develop student sports and organise the National University Games in the country.


“All we do is for students,” emphasises Strigelsky as he speaks to FISU Student Ambassador Olga Molotilova. “We supervise the activities of educational institutions. There are 51 universities in our country, which represent the sphere of our interests.”


One of the really distinctive features of RCSPS is that, in addition to university sports, they also supervise school sports. This gives them a unique advantage. 


“Our organization is also a member of the School Sports Federation, which allows us to hold the Republican School Games in 24 sports,” explains Vitaly Strigelsky. “These Games are a qualifying stage for the Gymnasiade. The advantage of such a programme is continuity: we keep track of promising athletes, from school age to university level. We have created a special database where we can track all the results of a particular athlete.”


“This allows us to directly participate in the development of future Olympic champions,” adds Strigelsky proudly.


Being a strong sports-oriented country, Belarus has always aimed to host major sport events. “We won the tender for the World University Championship of Canoe Sports in 2020. This is the next major international sports event on which our attention will be focused hereon,” he says.


“As for our annual plans, we have introduced a programme for the development of student sports through till 2020,” Strigelsky continues. “Various projects for sports and physical education are being implemented within the framework of this programme.”


RCSPS is an active FISU member federation that sends strong contingents to the Universiades and the World University Championships.


“This year Belarussian students participated in Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade and Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade,” Strigelsky tells the FISU Ambassador. “Our mission is to be responsible for the entire organisational process: from selection of athletes and building a national team to interaction with international and national sports federations. One of the selection criteria is participation in the National University Games. We take into account not only the world ranking but also the national one and then coordinate our decision with the respective federations.”


Last year in the 2018 World University Championship season, Belarus took part in nine Championships and won 47 medals. At the end of the year, all athletes who won medals were encouraged by appreciation and financial rewards from the Ministry of Education and BASS.

The Belarusian quartet that won the four-man title in the 200m canoe discipline in the WUC 2018When it comes to interaction with students, RCSPS believes that the best way to do so is through various sport events. In September, for example, there is an upcoming celebration of Minsk City Day for which RCSPS has created teams in different sports and will look to promote the core values of university sports among students. Many sporting events are organised round the year.


“Young people actively participate in half marathons and other races,” says Strigelsky. “This year, the Belarusian student ski track event was held by presidential decree for the first time and 49 universities took part. The event included 3 races – one for rectors, one for teachers and a race for students. At the end, every participant received a medal.”