Together with the Vice Premier of the Russian Federation Ms. Olga GOLODETS and Acting Governor of Sakhalin Region Mr. Valery LIMARENKO, the Minister of Sports of Russia visited sports events and assessed sports infrastructure facilities in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

The first competition day saw battles for short track medals at 1,500 m distance in Kristall Ice Palace. Triumph Skiing and Biathlon Center hosted classic sprint competitions of cross-country skiing discipline among boys and girls. By the way, a Sakhalin athlete Anna KOZHINOVA won gold with the result of 3 minutes 48 seconds. Also, a hockey meeting between Russia and Japan teams was held in the Arena City Ice Center on the same day.

Mr. KOLOBKOV attended the competition as a spectator and underlined a high organizational level of the 1st Winter Children of Asia International Sports Games.

– Today, the head of Sakhalin Region, Mr. Valery LIMARENKO, is strongly focusing the work of the Sakhalin Government on development of physical education and professional sports. This is very important: it means that the number of fans of a healthy lifestyle will be steadily growing in Sakhalin and the Kurils. It is natural that Sakhalin Region was honored to host this youth event. This is my first time in Sakhalin, and, to be honest, what I saw has exceeded my expectations. This is not only about beautiful landscapes, but about an extraordinary progress in sports domain. A developed winter sports infrastructure allows to train athletes, who are capable of winning the top awards, including Olympic medals, – Mr. KOLOBKOV said.

Head of Sakhalin Region Mr. Valery LIMARENKO, in turn, noted that as part of preparations for large-scale competitions a new entrance facility of Gorniy Vozdukh Sports and Tourist Resort was built, as well as and the new Skiing and Biathlon Center with a modern target system; the snowboard park and the ski jumping center were reconstructed. This was undertaken by a large professional team.

During his visit to Sakhalin Region, the Minister also met the sports activists of the island region at the Pobeda Museum and Memorial. Together with the Head of the Regional Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy, Mr. Sergey BURENKOV, they answered questions from the principals of Sakhalin sports schools, leaders of sports federations, and athletes.

Among the key problems, the participants mentioned the lack of an indoor athletics arena on the islands. The regional authorities are already addressing this issue. A tender for design and construction is scheduled to be announced this year.

– We really need such a venue on Sakhalin, as the island’s climate does not allow training outside for most of the year. While Sakhalin athletes are showing high results at All-Russian and international levels, – the Acting Governor of Sakhalin Region Mr. LIMARENKO said.

Sakhalin athletes also asked about the development of ethnic disciplines, including a Yakut wrestling – mas-wrestling, and launching of a specialized training hall for flying skiers and construction of a gymnastics training center. At the end of the event, Mr. Pavel KOLOBKOV told about his affection for ice hockey and invited everyone to cheer for the participants of the Children of Asia Games.

It should be reminded that international competitions will be held in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk from February 9 to 16. The competition program includes eight sports: figure skating, alpine skiing, biathlon, short track, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, snowboarding. About 1,200 athletes from 20 countries from all over the world are taking part in the Children of Asia Games.