The unprecedented and stunning success of the Uzbek national team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where our athletes won 13 medals for the first time ever, have become a starting point for much more dynamic and scaled development of this field. The decisions made by the country’s leadership in this direction have been in the spotlight of the general public. What are the current trends in the development of one of the most important areas in our life?
13 medals at the Olympics is good. However, as noted by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the outcomes of 2016 and prospects for 2017, all the medals were won only in three kinds of sports, and most of them in boxing. “What is the contribution of other sports?” he asked. The statement of the question is fair and timely.
The fact that the republic can be strong not only in boxing, is proved by the performance of our athletes in other competitions. In particular, the program of the 2020 Olympic Games has included karate. Thus, the successful performance of our karate athlete Sadriddin Saymatov at the Karate Premier League stages in 2017, where he has thrice won the gold medal, proves that this sport can bring medals for Uzbekistan at the Olympic Games. There is fairly no sport that would not be promising, it just requires due attention to development.
The construction of an ice palace in Tashkent to a modern architectural design, of unprecedented size and solutions for the Central Asian region, suggests that the country is capable of taking the most complicated technical bars.
The completion of the construction of the sports complex will allow developing such world’s popular sports as hockey, figure skating and many others, even in the forty-degree heat.
The fact that the republic will be able to escape fr om the lopsided development of sports in the coming years is also proved by a program of measures that are taken within the framework of the Action Strategy on Five Priority Areas for 2017-2021. The program provides for the development of a network of 296 children’s and youth sports schools, about 51,000 sports complexes, stadiums and facilities, as well as the construction of new schools of the Olympic reserve.
Most of the abovementioned objects were built or reconstructed in the years of independence. Each of them provides the conditions for the development of several sports, sports equipment is updated if necessary. Qualified coaching staff is sel ected scrupulously in order to ensure a high level of training. Much attention is paid to the development of national and game sports, martial arts, light and heavy athletics, fencing, calisthenics, and others.
The three-stage system of children’s sports games Umid Nihollari, Barkamol Avlod and the Universiade have been playing a special role in this work. The games have brought up several generations of athletes who have shown high results in international competitions. They have turned into an effective tool for not just selecting talents for the national team reserves, since they cover the entire republic, but also for the development of sports infrastructure in the regions. Sports facilities are built and reconstructed in cities and towns as part of preparation for the games.
For instance, Jizzakh is getting prepared to host Barkamol Avlod games among college and lyceum students in May. Reconstruction and repair of stadiums and sports grounds have almost been completed. It is important that after the games modern, high-quality sports facilities will remain at the disposal of local youth and the population.
Recent events in the sport life of Uzbekistan have shown that sports can be developed much more effective. The Decree of the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev ‘On further improvement of the culture and sports management system’ is aimed at implementation of the huge potential available.
As underscored in the official commentary to the decree, the critical analysis showed that the Ministry of Culture and Sports did not fully ensure the fulfillment of a wide range of tasks, especially in terms of coordination of related activities of state administration and local executive bodies, strengthening of logistical capacity of cultural, enlightenment, sports and health improving facilities, and their provision with qualified staff.
Moreover, as life practice showed, the unification of such multifaceted and complicated areas as culture and sport under one ministry decreased the effectiveness of measures on the broad-scale development of physical culture, and improvement of selection of promising athletes. As a result, the Ministry of Culture and Sports was often limited with the concentration of resources and opportunities available for holding festive cultural events and mobilization for important international sports competitions. The Ministry needed radical reforms to remedy the negative trends.
Therefore, it was decided to abolish the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Uzbekistan, and separate it into the Ministry of Culture and the State Committee for Physical Culture and Sports.
The new state body is entrusted with sports and physical culture advocacy among broad population strata, strengthening of logistical capacity of physical culture and sports organizations, support in the development of proposals on the establishment and expansion of production of domestic sports equipment and tools.
The new committee has embarked on the all-round development of children’s sports through the broad involvement of children, especially girls, in regular sports activities. Particular attention is paid to the further expansion of the network of children’s sports facilities in all regions, thereby improving children’s health and ensuring their harmonious physical development.
The implementation of measures on streamlining of the continuous system of selection, training and advanced training of talented and promising athletes is defined as a key mission of the Committee. Modern technologies are being introduced into the process of training, formation of quality sports reserve and the composition of national teams of the country.
Altogether, the measures should ensure the successful participation of Uzbekistan in the Olympic and Asian games, world and continent championships, and other prestigious international competitions.
The new Committee has seriously embarked on the provision of highly qualified staff for sports organizations and educational institutions, expansion and strengthening of interstate and international relations.
Addressing Pressing Problems
The executive board of the Children’s Sports Development Fund of Uzbekistan and 256 sports schools and boarding schools has been transferred from the Ministry of Public Education into the structure of the State Committee for Physical Culture and Sports. This step is expected to catalyze the ongoing work on the development and promotion of children’s sports, further strengthening of logistical capacity of abovementioned facilities, and improve the system of sports education and building of sports reserves.
The structure of the State Committee for Physical Culture and Sports envisages the establishment of offices on scientific and methodological support of sports and educational institutions, on formation and training of national teams.
The reorganization of a system of provision of highly qualified coaches and specialists of sports organizations and educational institutions has started. Center for Retraining and Professional Development of Workers of Children’s and Youth Sports Schools under the Ministry of Public Education merges with the Center for Scientific and Methodological Support, Retraining and Advanced Training of Physical Culture and Sports Specialists under the Uzbek State Institute of Physical Culture. It is going to be a unified authority to deal with the issues of training specialists in the field of sports.
Analysts share one view that the implementation of the Action Strategy on Five Priority Areas for 2017-2021, as well as reformation of the state management system in sports will allow raising the level of state policy in this direction to a new, higher level, strengthening the atmosphere of high spirituality, catalyzing the physical activity and creative energy of the people, creating all the conditions for growing the comprehensively advanced young generation, and strengthening the image of Uzbekistan as a country capable of achieving outstanding progress in sports.
(As part of the social order of the Oliy Majlis Public Fund for Support of NGOs and Other Civil Society Institutions).
Focused on Success
Head coach of the national athletics team of Uzbekistan:
We have won many medals in complex technical types at continental championships and Asian Games. We strive to improve the results in world-class competitions. The National Olympic Committee and the sports community have been doing much to raise the level of athletics in the country. We are a little bit backward, failed to hold lead, but we have timely made conclusions and several radical decisions.
One of decisions envisaged the construction of athletics complex next to the Pakhtakor stadium. The construction of a high school of sports is underway in Samarkand. We are currently addressing the problem of coaching staff, paying great attention to the selection of promising young athletes. I go to the regions by myself and observe them to subsequently involve in the team. And I must say that we have a lot of talented guys. We had gaps in the work with the youth, as demonstrated at the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, wh ere none of Uzbek athletes was represented. In the near future, we will see if we have managed to remedy the situation: licensing competitions for the Youth Olympics 2018 have begun.
On the Rise
Vladislav Mustafin, member of the national team in water sports:
Our swimmers failed to win medals at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but they still have something to be proud of. Rano Amanova and I became the first Uzbek swimmers ever to get a pass to the Olympics in three types of swimming just by hitting a qualifying standard, even though the bar was the highest in the history of world swimming development – at the level of the 16 best results of the London Olympics. Synchronized swimmers significantly improved their results at the qualifying stages.
We intend to grow not only in terms of performance and medals. Uzbekistan will host the Asian Water Sports Championship in the fall of 2017 for the first time ever, which will bring together athletes from around 40 countries. The fact that the International Swimming Federation chose Uzbekistan as the venue for this prestigious competition suggests that this sport is on the rise here.
From Umid Nihollari to the Olympics
Sitora Hamidova, member of the national athletics team:
My participation in Umid Nihollari, Barkamol Avlod games and the Universiade helped me to believe in my powers, get to the Olympics, and become a record-holder of Uzbekistan in 10,000 meter race. I believe that the development of these three-stage competitions should remain in the spotlight in the future, primarily because the country’s sports fields burst with promising talents today, who need to be revealed and assisted in opening their potential. Today, I call for that fr om the position of a coach of a children’s and youth sports school of Termez.
At the same time, I find it correct to take steps on consolidation of children’s and youth sports schools, and strengthening their logistical capacity and human resources. That would significantly increase their effectiveness.
Winter Sports to Warm Up
official of the Winter Sports Association:
We were excited to hear about the launch of construction of an ice palace in Tashkent. The long-cherished event should give impetus to the development of winter sports. There are currently very few ice rinks in the country. They all are designed for entertainment, but still are used by athletes for training. The construction of the ice palace will create professional conditions for representatives of winter sports.
That will boost the effective development of not just figure skating, but also hockey. There are plans afoot to transfer training of short track athletes to the territory of Uzbekistan.
At the same time, I believe that in the short term, ice sports should go beyond the limits of the capital. Modern ice rinks should appear in the regions. Winter sports have a great future in Uzbekistan, the more so, maintenance of the ice rink is cheaper than the maintenance of the pool today. The interest in these sports is huge among the youth.
Holding the Title of the Strongest
Head coach of the national boxing team:
At the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, our boxers won seven out of 13 medals, including three gold medals. This is certainly a serious progress. It is be difficult to hold the title of the strongest team, undoubtedly … After the Olympics the boys of Uzbek Tigers keep pleasing with their results. Of course, we want to win. I am pleased to note that during the previous Olympic race, we built a system that allows us maintaining and improving the results in boxing.
The Federation of Boxing has changed. It was improved with an eye to the real needs of the national team in preparation for this level of competitions. Today’s well-coordinated work of the Federation staff has been contributing to the progress of the entire team. Success in Rio de Janeiro is the result of participation in numerous tournaments in Uzbekistan, foreign trips to training camps. If I am not mistaken, we were not denied a single trip for the first time in the history of domestic boxing. The Federation supported all the initiatives of the coaching staff in relation to the training of athletes. This should remain so in the future, and then we will please our compatriots with victories.