There are many different sports clubs at Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University: volleyball, basketball, badminton, swimming, boxing, and others. Students compete at different levels. Journalists of the media center “Verbum” decided to find out what sports international students are involved in at the University, and whether there are differences between sports in Russia and abroad.

Sam Andrew Kenneth (Ghana) 1st year student, Institute of Humanities, Sociology

— I really like sports, and I’m trying to make sure I have time for it in my schedule. A lot of guys in my life have chosen football while girls prefer to swim. Luckily, at Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University, we all can find sports that we like to play. We practice regularly and also get invitations to various competitions. Football is the most popular sport in practically all African universities: this sport is well developed in my country, Ghana. But the attention is also paid to basketball, track and field, handball, volleyball, table tennis, cricket, golf. National championships are regularly held for these sports. The criteria for the formation and selection of teams are the same, both in Ghana and in Russia. My idols, like for most students in my social circle, are, of course, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, I know and respect Russian athletes such as the famous tennis player Maria Sharapova, or the football player Andrei Arshavin and the fighter Habib Nurmagomedov.

Jallepalli Yukhta Subkha Vinathi (India) 3rd year student, Medical Institute

— I like cricket best of all. It is not only the most popular sport in India, but also an important part of the Indian culture, and it is played almost everywhere. Yeah, it is not played in Syktyvkar, and it is not that popular in Russia, but there’s a team from Saint Petersburg that plays in European leagues. I follow their progress. To my mind, sports at Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University are well developed. There is no division into «locals» and «newcomers», teams accept us, and thanks to this we feel unity playing together. Sports help me relieve stress, take a break from studies, and also during training I practice my social skills. Two sports such as Kabaddi and Kho Kho are common in my country. Kabaddi is a team game that includes elements of struggle and tag game, and it is India that is the origin of this game. The main idea of the game is to score points by running into the opponent’s field and hitting as many opponents as possible, and you have to run before you get caught. While the «invader» is on the opposite side, he constantly shouts: «Kabaddi! Kabaddi!». He can only stay in enemy territory as long as he can scream without taking a breath. The game continues until one team loses all of its members.

Elden Tawfik Ahmed Mahmoud (Egypt) 2nd year student, Medical Institute

— I do kickboxing, and I think of it as the most spectacular sport. It helps to develop muscle, stamina, coordination, flexibility and motor skills. I try to devote a lot of time to it, because sport helps to combat bad habits and promotes health. There’s a huge number of sections in Syktyvkar for everyone. And that’s great! Of course, one of the problems is the language barrier. But we’re here to overcome it. Football, bodybuilding and fitness are very popular in Egypt. I’m rooting for talented Egyptian footballer Mohammed Salah. He is a simple, humble and kind man, popular in Egypt so much that many Egyptians want him to become a president. Everyone in Egypt likes football — from young to old. In case of victory of the beloved team, the streets of the big Egyptian cities can see a general jubilation: the joyous cheers of the local fans mixed with the continuous signals of the auto, proudly hung by the national flag, do not stop until morning.

Kamasbek oolou Said (Kyrgyzstan) 1st year student, Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship, Tourism

— I’m into volleyball. I think it’s the most interesting, popular sport. I started volleyball three years ago. Why volleyball? Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a volleyball player, I wanted to compete in different competitions. There are many volleyball players in Russia, they play very well, and I want to play like them. I wish there were more sports associations at Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University.

Abdelkawy Ahmed Reyad Ismail (Egypt) 3rd year student, Medical Institute

— I do basketball. I don’t have a lot of time to be active in sports because of my studies, but I try to play basketball in my spare time. I’m from Egypt, of course there are national basketball teams there, too. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of international students at the university who like basketball, and it’s sad to do it alone. I want both Russian and international students to be on the university basketball team! This combination will be a huge driving force and will lead the team to victory.

Nurlanov Akbar Nurlanovich (Kyrgyzstan) 4th year student, Institute of Exact Sciences and Information Technologies, Technosphere Security

— I’ve been boxing for over four years. I think this is the most interesting, effective and popular sport. I’ve wanted to be a boxer since I was a kid, learn to fight and compete in championships. At the moment, I’m boxing at the Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University. We have different sports in the country and the number of athletes increases every year.

Mosaad George Motiea Azmia (Egypt) 2nd year student, Medical Institute

— I’ve been going in for kettlebell lifting for two years since I came to Syktyvkar. I chose this sport to be strong and to have good physical form. You can take it anywhere, because the weight is easily moved. Egypt also has a national team for this sport. I would like to try out for sports such as boxing, horse racing. What would I want to change in the field of sports for university students? There are two modern gyms, but there is a lack of additional equipment. I would also make their attendance free for students, because not everyone can afford it.

Text: Victoria Kotlyarova, Elena Vorobyova
Photos provided by the heroes of the publication