Football dominated Artek’s agenda throughout June 25 with one of the largest match screenings in Crimea taking place on Dvortsovaya Square, where more than 3,000 youngsters from across Russia came together to watch their country play against Uruguay. On the same day, football teams representing Artek camps competed for the Artek Cup.
During preceding matches, the screening of games was organized in every Artek camp, but this time Dvortsovaya Square served as a single venue for the entire children’s center. Ahead of the match children received football memorabilia and shouted Artek chants to support the Russian team. Head of Artek’s football club, Timur Abdurakhamov, commented on the match, saying that football was very popular among Artek children, while Artek was committed to “identifying talented young people and helping them to join football academies and sports schools.”
Children were chanting “Russia!” from the very beginning of the broadcast on Dvortsovaya Square. They had posters and flags, and a wealth of good humor. “It gives me great pleasure to be supporting the Russian team here in Artek, since we are watching the match on a large screen, and can experience true emotions, while the fact that there are so many of us here today makes them even stronger. No matter how this game ends for our team, we will always be behind it. Russia qualified for the knock-out stage, which is already a major achievement and something to be proud of,” Mikhail Kulikov from Dubna, Moscow Region, said.
Valeria Kushkina from Vologda shares Mikhail’s opinion. “Watching World Cup matches in Artek is so much different compared to doing it back home. There are many children here, and they all support the Russian team. I feel as part of a huge crowd, as if I was on a stadium. This kind of atmosphere makes even the people who never before had any interest in football fall for it. This is not my case, since I love the game and play football, which brings out lots of positive emotions,” she said.
On the same day, the Artek Cup football tournament was played on the children center’s central stadium. It involved members of the Stellar Troops patriotic motor rally as its guests of honor. The Stellar Troops consists of actors, athletes, television presenters and public activists seeking to promote a healthy lifestyle, patriotism, charity and a number of other values. On its way to Artek, the motor rally visited Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Novorossiysk, Kerch, Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol, holding sports and patriotic events for students at every stop. Artek guests brought special presents with them, offering footballs signed by a Stellar Troops member, Russian footballer Dmitry Bulykin. He could not attend the Artek Cup, being the Ambassador of Nizhny Novgorod at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but sent a message to the tournament participants.
The Stellar Troops captain, public activist Zlata Chepurnaya, said that emphasizing Artek’s links with the entire country and its role in educating future generations was essential. “For this reason, we view today’s visit to Artek as yet another way of promoting children’s sports in Russia. We want Russia to be healthy and strong, and that is why we are here today. May I wish all Artek children to be strong, courageous and brave,” she pointed out.
Alexander Koshel from Rostov-on-Don was recognized as the loudest fan at the Artek Cup. He came to Artek as part of an orchestra to take part in the Silver Trumpets of the Black Sea festival. Alexander literally created a rhythm using a huge drum he brought to the screening. “We have wonderful football traditions in our city, and football fans are always very active in supporting players, no matter the team, be it Rostselmash, a small local team, or the national team. Rostov Arena is to host five 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, so there was no way I could stay inactive, even though I am here in Artek. I like to express my emotions while on the stands, and football can be hardly imagined without it,” he noted.
Camp Polevoi won the Artek Cup by defeating Camp Lazurny 1 nil. Camp Kiparisny took the bronze by defeating Camp Morskoi 2 nil in the third-place match. Head of Artek’s Department for Physical Education, Sports and Tourism Alexander Borovik said that the competition was very lively and upbeat. “All teams were very active and scored goals, and there was not a single zero draw, which made watching teams play and supporting their camps an even more exciting experience. Artek has held a miniature world cup of its own,” Alexander Borovik pointed out.
Video reports on football in Artek are available here: