«Sport is the best way to find friends» according to participants in the first international basketball game between the Russian student team and students at the Sino-Russian Institute (3rd year, Physics and Natural Sciences Departments) that took place at the NSU Sports Complex.
Even though the Chinese team lost to its Russian rivals, the SRI students are sure that the match was a success, because friendship won.
Jeanne Zaritskaya, coordinator for SRI extracurricular activities came up with the idea of a friendly match between representatives of the two countries. She explained that for Chinese students who are just beginning to get acquainted with the Russian mentality, it is very important to be in a situation where they feel comfortable.
Zaritskaya described how the idea evolved:
- First, I wanted to give Chinese students the opportunity to play basketball regularly (this is their favorite game), and secondly, I wanted to find new opportunities for them to make friends with Russian students. Many of them dream of such friendships. To tell the truth, it was with this same goal that earlier in the KRI program we decided that their physical education lessons would be together with Russian students. But for some reason, friendship does not usually result from these types of classes, the students do their homework and part ways. Therefore, we decided to change our approach. As you know, common goals and common challenges unite people. So, we decided on joint training for a basketball match that turned out to be more conducive to the beginning of close communication.
This SRI idea was supported by the coaching staff at NSU’s Department of Physical Education. The Chinese team coach was Viktor Zigmantovich, a teacher in the Department. After a series of training sessions, he decided to test the strength of the students in the match with a fairly strong opponent, the Russian student team that included first-year students from the Physics, IT and Economics Departments. As the fans admitted, it was not a tough competition and their support was not divided between the teams. However, spectators were happy for the success of the athletes on both teams.
- Here, as nowhere else, it was clear that friendship wins. We came here as fans of the Russian team but soon it became clear we were equally cheering for the Chinese students. They are such great sports! - said Anna Smirnova.
I want to say a big thank you to Sergey Viktorovich Yevtushenko, Deputy Head of Sports Activities at the NSU Sports Complex, for supporting this idea, allowing the guys to study in the basketball section, and getting the coach to agree. And, of course, we are immensely grateful to the basketball coach Viktor Pavlovich Zigmantovich, who took our Chinese students "under his wing” and gave them the opportunity to participate in training and in a short period of time prepared them for the match. The Chinese students greatly respected him for his abilities, his desire to teach new game techniques, and for his patience and kindness.
A couple of the Chinese students also expressed their appreciation.
Liao Xinyu (Natural Science Department, Biology) said, «I finally understood what real Russian basketball is. I really want to play again and win. In China, I also played basketball. And now I train four times a week».
Xu Zhiyong (Physics Department):
- I really like the feeling of being on the battlefield. It seems that I'm a hero and that I will definitely win. But, of course, victory requires the coordination of five people. And it was difficult. Honestly, there is a big gap in the level of our game and the Russian team. We still need a lot of training together. We have a great coach, I really like him. During training he taught us different techniques. Without his leadership, we would not have achieved the result we did. So many thanks to him. Most importantly, after the match I had Russian friends. I will now go to basketball lessons with them.
At least one more match is planned for next semester. A team of Chinese BA students will be joined by several SRI undergraduates and that should strengthen the team.