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04 April 2019 | in NUSF News

Krasnoyarsk has set the bar even higher for Russian student sport

The President of the Russian Student Sport Union (RSSU) firmly believes that student sport in Russia really started flourishing from the time the Universiade was held in Kazan, in 2013. The event was such a success that Kazan is now all set to enter the race to host the 2023 European Games. Such is the legacy of the Universiade and RSSU President Sergey Seyranov is positive that Krasnoyarsk 2019 will be a similar example.  


“Universiades and even state level competitions do not occur on daily basis,” Seyranov tells FISU Student Ambassador Ilia Andreev. “There is always room for improvement. But had we not put in good work, we never would have had the chance to host the Kazan and Krasnoyarsk Universiades. We are planning to work further in this direction.”


There are still challenges, he admits, and a long road ahead. “Unfortunately, we are lacking the kind of amenities they have in some other countries abroad.” Funding, seems to be the main obstacle. “Private capital and sponsorship rely entirely on friendship and personal relations in our case. Bigger potential sponsors sometimes say that our projects lack potential. Therefore, we highly appreciate all the efforts and support from the Russian Olympic Committee.”


Seyranov truly believes that all athletes should have the opportunity to be keenly involved in their professional sport career, while studying at the same time. He also says that the student sport movement includes many more, beyond the elite or competitive athletes. “We should attract even those who have never practiced any kind of sport at all,” he says. “Student sport also entails cheerleading, spectators, volunteers and that’s why it would be great to hold regular competitions in universities.”


RSSU recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, although its history can be traced much further back. Seyranov thinks the younger generation may not even know that back in the days of the USSR, there was a ‘Burevestnik Student Sport Community’. IN 1987, the ‘Burevestnik’ ceased to exist because almost every sport community was united into one body – the Russian Physical Education Sport Community Labour Union. Just a few years later though, in 1993, the idea of resurrecting Burevestnik emerged again. The iniatior was A Kiselev, an Olympic silver medalist boxer who at that time was also the head of physical education at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University.


“Burevestnik survived the 1990s,” Seyranov smiles. “Sports teams started participating in Universiades.”


“I was not a member of Burevestnik at that time,” he continues. “However, in 1997, I became rector of Moscow State PE Academy and I strongly felt that those who cannot make it into the senior and junior national teams, should be able to find a way of self-establishment as coaches. They should also have the opportunity to take part in competitions while educating, because it is also great for the sport.”

Krasnoyarsk 2019 turned out to be a spectacular event, but Sergey Seyranov believes that is only the tip of the iceberg. “The main task is to organize sports activities at university level,” he says. “We are organising many conferences and master classes where all heads of PE from Russia participate. Recently there was a great event in Lesgaft University in Saint Petersburg, where important current issues related to student sport were discussed.”


The ideas generated and plans made have to then be effectively communicated to the universities and Seyranov acknowledges the support of the Sports Ministry in this regards. “We interact with the universities at a regional level. The Sports Ministry also provides great financial support for organizing all the student sport competitions regionally.”


Once again he mentions that majority of the spending though, is for regional ‘Sportakiades’ and Universiades. “Student Sport fests and celebrations are also our duty,” he says. “Also, coordination between univerisities.”


So, even as a Universiade is just around the corner, Seyranov continues to have RSSU’s feet planted firmly on the ground.   

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