Healthy Athletes Growing in Russia

Russia's biggest Healthy Athlete screening at the International Athletics Tournament in Yoshkar-Ola

Free Health Screenings

More great developments for Healthy Athletes as Special Olympics Russia conducted it most comprehensive Healthy Athlete screening at their recent International Athletics Tournament in Yoshkar-Ola, the capital of the Mari El Republic region of Russia.

Over two days from September 12-13, close to 200 athletes benefited from free health screenings which were led by three senior medical doctors from the Mari El Region

On just the first day of competitions alone 112 athletes passed through the Healthy Athlete station. The success of the event was confirmed in the fact that 90% of the 180 athletes competing in the International competition were screened.



For the first time ever in Russia, the Healthy Athlete screenings included services in Funfitness, screenings to measure athletes’ flexibility, strength, balance and aerobic fitness, as well as Health Promotion which sets out to activate young people to become agents of change fostering respect, dignity and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities.

On September 11, a specialized seminar was hosted for 55 medical volunteers from the Mariy El Republic State University. Yoshkar-Ola Medical College, as well as four doctors from Mariy El Republic Centre of Sport Medicine.

The General Supervisor of the Healthy Athlete program at the 2012 Special Olympics Russia International Athletic Meet was Valery Bashirov, Chief Doctor at the Mariy El Republic Medical Centre. Dr Irina Pavlova and her pupil Elena Plastinina served as director of the Health Promotion service while FUNFitness was led by Dr Vladimir Khramov and his pupil Olesya Borisenko.

Health Volunteers

For many of the medical volunteers it was their first time to work with athletes with intellectual disabilities and the experience left a big impact with many committing to volunteer at future Special Olympics Russia events. For Elena Prislegina the three days represented “Exciting times, great leaders, devoted team, kid’s eyes bright with happiness. Believe me, it is worth a lot!” Svetlana Emelianova, a student of the Mariy State University said that all the time she felt like saying “Golden” rather than “Healthy” Athlete.

The medical volunteers gained the respect and cooperation of the athletes which is most aptly summed up by the impressions of Russian athlete Anastasia Belousova, from the Lyulpany village of the Medvedevsky district of the Mariy El: “They asked a lot of questions about my legs and arms, how strong I am, can I or can I not run. I liked the doctors – they are so kind and handsome!”

Well done to all the doctors, volunteers, athletes and coaches who worked so diligently and enthusiastically to make this milestone event such a success.