On Sunday, March 19, the third annual volleyball tournament in memory of ex-Governor Viktor Zimin ended in Khakassia. The trainees of coach Irina Zolotukhina, who has already become legendary, became the winners again.
This time, among the winners are not only all-stars, but also very young participants born in 2014−2015 who are trainees of the comprehensive sports school of the Altai district. This is the first real tournament for them. A year ago, many of them went to kindergarten, and today they win gold medals of the interregional tournament. The strongest athletes from Krasnoyarsk Territory, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, and Sayanogorsk competed with the teams from Bely Yar. Despite the difficult struggle, the first place in the tournament was taken by Krasnye Molnii (Bely Yar). The Kuzbass Junior team won silver, and the Elita sports club from the Yemelyanovsky district of Krasnoyarsk Territory won bronze. The honorable fourth place belongs to Krasnye Zvezdy, the youngest participants of the competition from Bely Yar.
Commenting on the results of the tournament, Anastasia Lobotovskaya, coach of the Elita team, admitted that it was very difficult to compete with athletes from Khakassia, but this was the most valuable:
- The children have achieved a quantum leap, having added about 4 months of training in 4 days. I can say that after such a tournament, probably 90 percent of children will dream of becoming Olympic champions in this sport. Participation in such a tournament lays the groundwork for setting big goals and topping the podium.
The chief judge of the tournament, coach Irina Zolotukhina, also speaks about the importance of such competitions for younger athletes:
- The purpose of this tournament is to fulfill the covenants that Viktor Mikhailovich left us: continuity, improvement and consistency. The current competitions are initially unique in that, along with the champions of Siberia and Russia, these young athletes participate in them, who watch, cheer for their teams, comprehend, and learn. My dream is that in seven years these girls will meet at the same tournament, and we will see how they have grown and changed, because it is very responsible to keep the team. In sports, weak athletes either become strong or leave. And so I would really like to see these children who started the sports path here, mature, skilled and harmoniously developed personalities.
In the older age group among girls born in 2005−2008, the first places were also predictably taken by the athletes from Bely Yar. Khakassia — 2008 national team became the winner, Fortuna took the second place. Bronze medals were awarded to Zvezda Sayan (Sayanogorsk). Immediately after the tournament, the winning team went to Nizhny Novgorod to defend the honor of the region at the Russian Championship.
The Mairykhsky Open Pit Mine, the general partner of the competition, awarded all the winners of the tournament. The teams and their coaches received cups, medals, awards and prizes, including professional sports equipment for the younger generation of athletes. In the senior teams, the best players were awarded with commemorative statuettes.
- Our permanent partner, the Mairykhsky Open Pit Mine, fully provides food and accommodation for visiting teams. That is, they help the athletes’ parents financially, since such trips are usually at parents’ expense. The prizes, the coaches' remuneration, the whole volleyball entourage — everything is superb and creates such a powerful atmosphere that we talk and remember this event for many months afterwards.
Sergey Kochan, the Minister of Sports of the Republic of Khakassia, also expressed gratitude for the organization of the tournament:
- One of the great people said that as long as there is a memory, a person lives. Therefore, as long as there are such tournaments, the initiative that Viktor Mikhailovich started is going to live, and Khakassia is going to develop. Once again, I want to say a big thank you to all the organizers. And I want to add that this tournament is becoming unique. I do not know any other Russian competitions today, where there is such a large number of small athletes. Therefore, I wish the younger athletes great success and victories!
The volleyball tournament in memory of Viktor Zimin is planned to be made annual. The Volleyball Federation of the Republic of Khakassia plans to expand the list of participating regions, which will allow even more athletes to get a unique gaming experience and increase the chances of future big wins.