Every year since 2006 in St. Petersburg there is the Public sports event “I Choose Sport!” is being held, it is an event that combines the features of the exhibition and a big city holiday for children and their parents, young people and all those who love sports and active recreation.
The idea of the event is to present at the beginning of the academic year all or almost all the existing opportunities in St. Petersburg for sports and active recreation on one site. So that all interested people, can get acquainted with them and determine their sporting future for the next academic year, and maybe even for the rest of their lives. The entrance to the event is free.
Finnish Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities (VAU) attended the official opening of the Vector Sport project in St. Petersburg, Russia. One the goals of the Project is to include persons with disabilities, pros and non-pros, to future sport events. VAU has the special knowledge and expertise that can be utilized by the project when solving accessibility, adapted sport equipment and disability sport issues.
The City of Saint Petersburg has already made accessibility improvements to various locations but general, everyday problems still exist – for example when crossing a road via pedestrian crossing woith a wheelchair, only one side of the curb might be sloped.
The opening ceremony of the Vector was located in the Fair Center that also hosted Sport Fair for Youth. The Sport Fair included lots of Sport Federations and Sport Clubs introducing their activities. Most of the attending guests were children and youth who also had a chance to try out some of the activities. The local Disability Sport Federation’s sitting volleyball tournament was played during the Fairs. A similar kind of disability sport fair, Liikuntamaa, is also organised in Finland, Tampere 7.-9.11.2019. Hopefully the partners of Vector project will visit the Liikuntamaa fair in Tampere.
The Fair Center also hosted the Para Dance Sport competition that had Finnish participants. Tuuli Harju ja Timo Pyykkönen won gold, silver and bronze in different events and we had the opportunity to cheer them for awhile during our visit.
From the Sport Fair we moved to the opening of the Vector Project where the Finland-Russia co-operation and project goals were announced. It was a pleasure to meet the olympic winners in the coctail event after the official opening and their extensive presence did bring up conversation about the high respect of coaches, ahtletes and various sports in Finland and Russia.
During our trip we had the pleasure to get more information about the Vector project and we met the Finnish and Russian partners. Lots of new co-operation possibilities were discussed and lots of new friends were made.
Thanks to all the participants and especially thanks to all Russian partners, Etelä-Savon Liikunta ry, Etelä-Karjalan Liikunta ry and Kymenlaakson Liikunta ry
Finnish Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities (VAU)
Tiina Siivonen & Teemu Lakkasuo