Fostering a physically healthy and spiritually mature generation is a government policy priority in Uzbekistan. The future of the homeland and the standing of Uzbekistan in the global arena depend primarily on what personalities our children will grow to be as they reach adulthood.
Children’s sports are an important factor in the effectiveness of system of educating young people. Now they have turned into a truly massive and popular movement, and its progressive development is closely interlinked with the process of education and training.
The Children’s Sports Development Fund was established in 2002 to be a platform for a unique system of competition among boys and girls. The Fund has invested in construction of hundreds of children’s sports facilities, including new sports complexes and gyms in secondary schools, 85% of which are located in the countryside. Last year, 113 sports facilities were built. Thus, the number of children constantly involved in sports has increased significantly.
As the President of Uzbekistan said at a recent meeting of the Fund’s Board of Trustees, “we should build good and solid complexes where our dear children will go in for sports, and let these facilities always remind them of our great love for them, let them be a reflection of our care, since the creation of appropriate conditions for harmonious development of our children is our duty.”
Now the ranks of boys and girls involved in sports are constantly expanding. Currently, about two million children regularly go in for more than 30 sports. There is a huge change in involvement of girls into physical education and sport. Today, 842,000 girls regularly attend different sections. Ten years ago this figure was 1.6 times less. Participation of young representatives of the fair sex in gymnastics, swimming, synchronized swimming and other kinds has tangibly increased. Female sports are important not only in terms of girls’ health, but also for the formation of a beautiful posture, and smooth movements.
Gymnastics, an amazingly harmonious and graceful kind of sports, has been growing increasingly popular over the recent years. There are all necessary conditions for its development. Uzbekistan Gymnastics Federation works to promote this kind of sports, advance skills of gymnasts, holds national and regional competitions, reveals new talented athletes. Tutored by skilled qualified trainers, rhythmic gymnastics schools operate in all regions of the country.
The gymnastics development program, favorable conditions and incentives for female trainers working at children’s sports facilities in rural areas, have contributed to the number of gymnast girls increased several dozen times. Today almost 40 thousand girls are engaged in artistic gymnastics, while in 2003 they numbered as few as 1,700.
There are all the conditions for rapid development of this kind of sports in the country: specialized centers equipped with all necessary facilities operate in all regions. Besides, there are gymnastics sections under educational institutions. They empower our compatriots to adequately defend the honor of the motherland in the world sports arena. To date, they have brightly manifested themselves, and firmly fixed their position in the field of gymnastics. For several years Tashkent has been hosting the Grand Prix challenges in Rhythmic Gymnastics and youth competitions Happy Caravan, where our female compatriots dominate the podium.
In order to draw girls’ attention to sports, domestic manufacturers produce beautiful and comfortable uniform in line with the national mentality. Every year, on the threshold of International Women’s Day, young beginning athletes receive free sports equipment. Such ceremonies are turn into true holidays of sports.
Unique three-stage tournaments of Umid Nihollari, Barkamol Avlod, and Universiade among students of schools, colleges and lyceums as well as higher education institutions make a tangible contribution in involvement of youth in sports competitions. Held in full compliance with the principles of the Olympic movement, the competitions turned into both the mass sports ground for hundreds of thousands of young people, and a training school for talented athletes capable to adequately fight for the honor of the country in the international arena. Hundreds of young athletes, who are annually identified through these games, today defend the honor of the motherland at the most prestigious international competitions.
For example, last year Bukhoro hosted the final stage of the Universiade, the qualifying rounds of which brought together 138,000 students. In order to ensure a high level of student games, dozens of palaces and sports complexes were built in this ancient city, along with large-scale improvement works costing 93.5 billion soums. All this is suggestive of the tremendous attention being paid by the state to the competitions.
It is worth noting that Universiades have become a takeoff platform for our famous athletes including a judoka Rishod Sobirov, a boxer Abbos Atoev, a chess player Rustam Kasymjanov, track and field athlete Svetlana Radzivil, tennis player Denis Istomin, and many others. Later, the winners of the Bukhoro Universiade successfully performed at the Universiade in Kazan.
This year, Namangan will host the final stage of Barkamol Avlod to honor the top students of professional colleges and academic lyceums. The city is actively getting prepared for the upcoming games by building new sports facilities and reconstructing the existing ones.
The large-scale work on the development of sports and establishment of healthy lifestyles is yielding its generous fruits: Uzbek athletes have been showing a stable progress in the international arena of late. In the sports season of 2013 they won 276 gold, 250 silver and 268 bronze medals, which is another proof that talented and skilled sons and daughters of the Uzbek land are not inferior to anyone.
For example, our young athlete Nafisa Muminova became the first chess player of Uzbekistan to be awarded the title of International Grandmaster FIDE early last year. She was brought up in an amazing chess family, known throughout the country. Nafisa is an International Grandmaster, her sister Hulkar is FIDE master, another sister Gulruhbegim is also a very talented and promising chess player. Alisher Muminov, the father of gifted daughters and their coach, created all conditions for their comprehensive development. They study literature, especially poetry, and foreign languages along with chess debuts.
This family should certainly be an example. In the healthy atmosphere, where parents are involved in sports, children absorb healthy lifestyles, and seek to participate and win the competitions.
Shahida Zahidova, Sevara Babakulova and Gulsanam Yuldasheva won silver medals at the Asian Championship in Synchronized Swimming. The Uzbek weightlifter Manzurakhon Mamasalieva won the bronze medal at the Universiade in Kazan. Such examples show how much the attitude to sports and physical culture has changed in Uzbek families and communities.
Two years ago we proudly reported of the success of young Uzbek football players, as they ranked among eight world’s top teams at the World Championships in Mexico. This truly historic success was repeated by a new generation of players who not just reached the playoff stage, but the quarterfinals at the youth and junior world championships in Turkey and the UAE in 2013.
In his brilliant style the weightlifter Ruslan Nurudinov won the world championship in weightlifting in Poland. The list can be continued by successful performance of judokas, tennis players, representatives of the national Kurash and other sports. Late last year, a group of representatives of gifted youth, including athletes, were conferred to high state awards for raising the authority of Uzbekistan in the international arena.
There is another point to highlight. Along with significant progress, improved health is the crucial outcome of scaled involvement in physical culture and sports. Regular sports and physical education have improved physical development and health of our children. In particular, over the last ten years, the average weight of boys and girls under the age of 14 years increased by a few kilograms; the average growth has also increased. The ratio corresponds to the World Health Organization standards. The incidence of acute respiratory infections, viral infections, pneumonia, bronchitis and other diseases has significantly reduced in students across the country. In 2003, the proportion of boys fit for military service was 67.6 percent, while in 2012 this figure increased to 82.5 percent.
Mass engagement in sports and physical education makes young people strong and courageous, builds their nature, cultivates dedication, fortitude and ability to achieve goals. It positively changes the lifestyle of boys and girls, shapes unique features in them. The sport is undoubtedly the most important factor of formation of young people. Only healthy people, healthy nation is capable of great deeds and accomplishments.
That is why Uzbekistan is taking every effort to make sports and physical education a permanent lifestyle of its youth.
Every money and effort, and most importantly, love and care is spent to nurture the decent generation, to build their happy future.
“Uzbekistan today” newspaper