All-Russian Walking Day in Novorossiysk. Recap

This year Novorossiysk became the central venue for the main sports festival of the autumn – All-Russian Walking Day.

From early morning, the residents of the city with their family members and friends proceeded to the Cape of Love – a landmark of the city where there is a monument to the crew of Seiner ‘Urup’ and a topiary in the form of a heart. According to legend, this is the place where lovers met in ancient times.

On October 3, people who lead an active and sportive lifestyle with all their hearts gathered here. The first pleasant surprises awaited them even before the beginning – everyone who registered as a participant received a commemorative T-shirt bearing the symbols of All-Russian Walking Day. Children and adults alike instantly donned the white T-shirts, and the excellent weather only added to the overall great atmosphere in Novorossiysk. There was a clear blue sky with the temperature being 24°C which definitely improved the mood of everyone present who decided to participate and walk the distance of 2020 metres along the splendid Black Sea embankment.

The task ahead was, in general, not a difficult one, but the best fitness instructors of Novorossiysk carried out a thorough warm-up exercise right before the start. They emphasized that walking was also a sport and the body’s muscles must be ready. With the help of basic exercises, the residents of Novorossiysk prepared for the sports walk and at the same time did not miss the chance to get autographs and take photos with famous athletes.

Along with Dmitry Guberniev, numerous prominent athletes were present: bronze medallist at the 2016 Summer Olympics in sailing Stefania Elfutina, Olympic champion in judo Beslan Mudranov, gold medallist at the 2004 Summer Olympics in the 800m race Yuri Borzakovsky, Olympic champions in trampoline gymnastics Irina Karavaeva and Alexander Moskalenko, gold medallist at the 2000 Summer Olympics in handball Stanislav Kulinchenko, as well as Olympic boxing champion Shamil Sabirov, Olympic bronze medallists in handball Lyudmila Pazich and Svetlana Pryakhina, multiple World champion in trampoline gymnastics Natalya Chernova and the President of the Russian Handball Federation Sergey Shishkarev.

The festive holiday was officially opened by the President of the Russian Olympic Committee, four-time Olympic champion Stanislav Pozdnyakov. He wished all the participants good health, good spirits and a great mood, especially in such lovely weather.

Everyone who showed up at the Cape of Love were warmly welcomed by the Minister of Physical Culture and Sport of Krasnodar Krai Alexey Chernov, acting Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of Krasnodar Krai Semyon Pisarenko, acting Head of the municipal formation ‘City of Novorossiysk’ Roman Breus and the Head of the Department for physical culture and sport of the administration of the municipal formation ‘City of Novorossiysk’ Sergey Kostenko.

The President of the Russian Handball Federation Sergey Shishkarev, in turn, noted that he, as a resident of Novorossiysk, was pleased to provide hospitality and assistance in organizing the 6th All-Russian Walking Day.

– I am glad to be here with famous athletes: I was a young boy running along this embankment and playing football; I was a Young Pioneer and a Komsomol member standing by the Eternal Flame, – said Sergey Shishkarev. – This event for me is the starting point for the upcoming Olympic Games. Our women’s national handball team is now holding a training camp in Novogorsk – all members, as well as the famous coach Yevgeny Trefilov, send warm greetings to everyone.

The participants of the holiday were many – almost the entire length of the symbolic route – and they happily set out on the journey along the main embankment of Novorossiysk. Participants mainly consisted of children and parents, students, pensioners, people with disabilities, as well as Olympic athletes, who willingly interacted with fans and even managed to take pictures with them on the go.

– There are many children here right now, they have a wonderful opportunity to chat with Olympic champions, eminent athletes and ask questions. They also have the chance to take photos that will be kept as mementos. We periodically go to other cities of Krasnodar Krai where we meet with schoolchildren, but not everyone has the chance to show up. Therefore, All-Russian Walking Day is a unique opportunity that has given young people and adults alike the opportunity to interact with famous Olympians, – said Irina Karavaeva, the first ever Olympic champion in trampoline gymnastics, chair of the Olympic Council of Krasnodar Krai in her interview to the ROC Information Service. – It is important to note that without mass sport, there would be no professional sport. Krasnodar Krai is among the top regions in terms of the number of people involved in physical culture and sport. It is not a coincidence that traditionally there are numerous athletes from our region in the Russian Olympic Team.

Bronze medallist of the Olympic Games in sailing Stefania Elfutina, in turn, admitted that she was very happy to return to Novorossiysk.

– It was in this very bay that my first youth competitions were held, my first victories were won. Memories will definitely turn into positive emotions that will help during training, – said the athlete. – I can’t get used to the fact that people recognize me on the street and ask to be photographed. This is very pleasant, especially in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Olympic boxing champion Shamil Sabirov also has many fond memories connected with Krasnodar Krai and in particular with Novorossiysk. It was here that he had his first training camp under the leadership of Artyom Lavrov, who prepared the USSR national team for the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow.

– This year All-Russian Walking Day turned out to be a grand event, – emphasized Shamil Sabirov.

– It will certainly make a significant contribution to the development of all sports. Most of all, I was impressed by the number of Olympic champions who flew to the Black Sea coast, as well as the participants of the event. I am glad that an active and healthy lifestyle has brought so many people together.

The sports procession ended on Forum Square, where souvenirs and gifts were presented to all participants and guests of All-Russian Walking Day 2020. At the finish line, everyone received a golden medal made from chocolate and a commemorative diploma.

– The distance of 2020 metres is, of course, not 800 metres, but I am not tired. I am glad that so many sports fans, who are truly keen on an active lifestyle, have rubbed shoulders together here in Novorossiysk, and a good example has been set for the younger generation. It is especially pleasant that it is still summer in Krasnodar Krai: it is sunny and warm and the sea is calm, – said Olympic champion in the 800m race Yuri Borzakovsky. – My finest hour was almost 16 years ago, but fans still remember my victory, they want to take pictures with me and ask for autographs. It is nice that they do not forget the history of national sports and track-and-field athletics. This will certainly help young people to achieve great results in the future.

Olympic champion in judo Beslan Mudranov emphasized that it was a great honour for him to walk shoulder to shoulder with ordinary fans.

– The understanding that the whole country is watching you and that they are waiting for you at home gives you additional motivation during competitions, and energizes you. During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, these were the sentiments that helped me win gold, – said the Olympic champion.

– Everyone knows that Krasnodar Krai is famous for its athletes. It is no coincidence that the 6th All-Russian Walking Day has caused so much excitement in Novorossiysk.

Olympic champion in trampoline gymnastics Alexander Moskalenko was quoted as saying:

– Both young and old have begun leading a healthy lifestyle. During the self-isolation regime many people missed out on outdoor activities that is why All-Russian Walking Day gathered so many participants. It is great that the Russian Olympic Committee and the Administration of Krasnodar Krai organized such a lovely holiday, allowing us to walk freely in the open air and feel a sense of unity. In addition to walking, the sea breeze is also good for our health because the entire route today was covered along the embankment. I immediately recalled the words of the famous actor Yuri Nikulin that ‘even after a small smile, one small microbe is sure to perish in the human body.’ Therefore, I have no doubt that together we will overcome any challenge.

At the numerous stands of the game ‘Walking Quest’ everyone could try out summer and winter sports, testing their speed, strength and dexterity. One could also shoot at biathlon targets, go in for curling, as well as display knowledge at the military-patriotic stand dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the platforms Moscow-80, Sochi-2014 and Tokyo-2020.

The most active and knowledgeable participants received memorable prizes and gifts from the ROC. These were the mascots of the Russian Olympic Team – an ushanka cat with earflaps and a roly-poly matryoshka bear, as well as a set of sportswear from ZASPORT.

The 6th All-Russian Walking Day is being held on October 3-4 in 48 regions of the Russian Federation within the frames of the Olympic Country programme for the Development of Mass Sports with support from the General sponsor of the Russian Olympic Team – global energy company Gazprom, the General partner of the ROC – Russia’s largest airline Aeroflot, the official outfitter of the Russian Olympic Team ZASPORT, and the Partner of the ROC – mining and metallurgical company Nornickel.

The festive holiday is part of World Walking Day which has been held under the auspices of The Association For International Sport for All (TAFISA) across the world for over 20 years. Annually, more than 12 million people from 150 countries participate in TAFISA World Walking Day.