On December 14-15, ALROSA hosted CHEER Sports Festival in Yakutsk. The festival is one of the company's social policy directions and has been successfully held in the republic for many years.
Well-known athletes, champions, and martial artists in kyokushin, kickboxing, taekwondo, sambo, and judo (Kirill Antonov, Evgeny Piksaev, Ilya Karpenko, Igor Redko, Vladimir Prikazchikov, and Dmitry Gerasimenko) held master classes for children.
101 Questions to the Champions meeting was one of the first events. The kids indeed had no less than a hundred questions, some of which were very unexpected. They had both personal and sports-related questions. The most active kids who asked the most interesting questions got autographed t-shirts.
Kirill Antonov, Master of Sports of International Class, World champion, two-time World Cup champion, European champion, and three-time Russian champion in kickboxing:
I see that the kids are interested, they look at you with wide eyes and absorb every word. We are holding such meetings with children in the fourth city in a row and we have only positive impressions. The kids seem to lay down their next moves in their heads. I feel like we're starting a fire inside them.
I liked the question on how we deal with difficult moments in our careers. Indeed, we face those often, and it is difficult to stay focused on one thing and not despair.
We are presenting four disciplines: taekwondo, sambo, kickboxing and karate. During the workshops I share my achievements, techniques and favourite punches that helped me in my sports career. No coach can teach all the skills so that his student does everything at the highest level. Everyone gives something different. I have gained certain skills during my career and I share them with the kids.
The festival is meant to convey to every child that they can achieve a lot with a great desire and love for their work. We show that nothing is impossible. We give hope and motivate children. Maybe they will not play sports, they will choose other activities, but they will know that if they are crazy about something and are focused on their work, then everything will work out.
Can you share your signature set of skills?
There is no universal skill because everyone has different height and weight. If I become a coach, then I would like to teach children to love what they are doing. I want my students not to be afraid to take risks in life, I want them to do what they want.
Valery Kychkin asked more questions than anyone and was among the winners.
I asked the athletes’ their impressions on Yakutia, etc. I am very glad that I met the World champions. I myself have been boxing for four months, before that I did karate. In the future I plan to continue boxing and take part in competitions.
Sports promotion is one of the key areas of ALROSA’s social projects in our republic. Such mass events provide an opportunity to gain new knowledge and experience and inspire to do sports. It makes sports accessible, so it is possible that someone will commit their lives to these sports.
It should be noted that Masters of Sports managed to hold master classes and open lessons for students in Mirny, Udachny, and Aikhal. CHEER was held in Yakutsk twice this year – on acrobatic rock and roll and freestyle wrestling. Events introducing children and youth to sports and healthy lifestyles are held by the sports governing bodies of Russia under the auspices of ALROSA. It proritizes welfare and development of Yakutian regions. The festival ended with a friendly tournament in Touch-Kumite.
Reference: Touch-Kumite is soft sticks fencing. It is one of the most ancient single combat types, since a stick was the first weapon. Soft stick combat is the safest way to teach beginners basic martial arts skills. It is supposed to remove psychological barriers before contact fights and make your movements and reaction faster. This is due to the fact that the speed of a soft stick is much higher than arm or feet speed.
Danil Zinovyev, 14 years old, one of the winners of the competition:
I had a good time and I would like to thank the festival’s organizers. It was not easy to win, because you need to find your own technique for each opponent. This was the biggest workshop I’ve ever been to, and the prizes were so good. I’ve been doing sambo for two years and I plan to continue.
Evgeny Piksaev, the main referee and a three-time taekwondo World medallist:
I'm in this project for the second year. Touch-Kumite is the only kind of fight that unites all martial arts. We spent a long time thinking in what competitions wrestlers, boxers and taekwondo players could participate in the same tournament according to the same rules. So, we chose Touch-Kumite. This sport is beginning to gain momentum. Some regions hold similar competitions with thousands of participants. It isn’t really sports – it’s rather a game, but any wrestler can compete by such rules. It just makes sense to hold the main competition in this format.
How would you rate the tournament? Was it interesting?
We have already visited four towns in Yakutia: Udachny, Aikhal, Mirny and Yakutsk. This is the fourth tournament in ten days. I can absolutely confidently say that the brightest one was in Yakutsk. The participants of our workshops created a positive atmosphere for all athletes. Not only participants of workshops, but also children who don’t do martial arts came to try their hand in different cities. I believe that everything went well, and next year the kids will even train before the tournament to win. I think that the prizes are quite nice.
What workshops did you run during the tournament?
I conducted mainly taekwondo workshops, then a World champion run kickboxing workshops. We also had a World champion in sambo, a European champion and Olympic medallist in judo, World champions in karate, and two representatives run workshops.