EUSA Insider:

Russian Students Sports Union 

Founded: 1993
Current Headquarters: Moscow
Website:                                                                                    Published 26 February 2021

Firstly, for those who do not know, please tell us a bit about your NUSA...
The Russian Students Sport Union is an all-Russian public organisation founded in 1993 following the initiative of the Ministry of Education, the State Committee for Sports and Russian Olympic Committee. RSSU today has 65 branches in the Russian Federation, is an active member federation of FISU and EUSA, a member of Russian Olympic Committee, and is recognised as the legal entity of physical education and sport under the Federal Law on physical education and sport. RSSU works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Sport and the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, local sports and educational authorities and national sports federations on further development and promotion of university sports and a healthy lifestyle among students and youth in Russian Federation.

The tradition of organising biannual all-Russian Summer and Winter Universiades was successfully renewed and the concept of an annual Russian University Sports Festival was launched in 2008. Around 70 national university sport championships and cups are being organised annually as well as educational events such as seminars and forums. A lot of attention is paid to the university sports leagues and associations, with 26 university leagues operating in Russia at the moment.  The project of the Russian Student Sports Union "Student Leagues-Sport for All" is aimed at developing university sports in the regions of the Russian Federation, supporting existing and creating new national student sports leagues. The main tasks of the project include the organisation of sport competitions and promotional events, as well as educational seminars and workshops for coaches and officials.

Can you describe some of the major events your NUSA has hosted in recent years, both national and international?
RSSU has initiated several major national and international sports projects, the most prominent of which were the 2013 FISU Summer Universiade in Kazan and the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk. Both of these Universiades turned out to be a great success and were two of the best events in the history of university sports, leaving a great legacy including modern sports venues, city infrastructure and university campuses, as well as qualified staff and volunteers. We are very pleased that a record number of countries – 58 – took part in 2019 Krasnoyarsk Winter Universiade.

2013 FISU Summer Universiade

What have been some of the highlights for your NUSA in recent years?
The success of our athletes in international competitions. In the European Universities Championships and Games, the FISU World University Championships and Cups and especially in Summer and Winter Universiades, we finished 1st in the medal tally on several occasions. Hosting major international events – European Universities Championships, World University Championships, FISU Forum 2018, FISU Summer and Winter Universiades were all unforgettable experiences for our NUSA. On a national level, the true highlights of university sports are the All-Russian Summer and Winter Universiades, university leagues competitions and Festivals. The International Day of University sports celebrations attracts a lot of attention with more than 50 000 participants across the country taking part in the event.

“RSSU has initiated several major national and international sports projects, the most prominent of which were the 2013 FISU Summer Universiade in Kazan and the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk.”

How important are the EUSA events – both sporting and educational – for your NUSA?
Collaboration with FISU and EUSA is very important for RSSU and our activities are focused in particular on the importance of cooperation with international university sports organisations, national university sport federations and organising international sports and educational events both in the Russian Federation and worldwide, and actively participating in international university sports competitions.

Russian success

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted university sport across the world. How was your NUSA able to adapt to the situation, what activities have you still managed to organise and are there any positives you have noted from these difficult circumstances?
In this difficult year we are very proud that Russian universities showed a great interest in university sports competitions and events across our country.  Despite the certain obstacles in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, RSSU successfully held both All-Russian Winter and All-Russian Summer Universiades, RSSU Gala, national Championships and several Festivals. 2379 participants from 55 regions of Russian Federation representing 113 universities took part in All-Russian Summer Universiade in Ekateringurg this year, and All-Russian Winter Universiade set an absolute record in university representation – 78 universities!

In 2020 for the first time in our history, the University Sports Festival dedicated to the International Day of University Sport was organised with support from the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, local sports and educational authorities.  Eight cities - Ekaterinburg, Grozny, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Petrozavodsk, Smolensk and Vladivostok – hosted the central stages of the Festival. In total the IDUS celebration events took place in more than 50 regions of the Russian Federation with more than 50 000 participants taking part. On the occasion of the International Day of University Sport RSSU launched a challenge on social media with the hashtag #мойстудспорт (my university sport). Each participant was required to share a memorable experience related to university sports (as an athlete or volunteer at university sport events). The Festival of Student Sports Leagues was held on 11 December 2020 in Luzhniki Sports Complex. The event was organised within the framework of the grant project of the Russian Student Sports Union "Student Leagues-Sport for All".

On 25 January 2021, on the Russian student’s day, a traditional ice festival “University Sports Night” took place in Moscow and other regions of the Russian Federation. It is an annual event where university students across Russia take part in ice-sport competitions, social and cultural activities and mass skating. In spite of all challenges we faced we must mention positive effects – raising awareness among students of the importance of healthy lifestyle and daily involvement in sport activities to maintain good health and positive mindset.

Finally, what does the future of university sport in your country hold?
Currently the main university sports project in the Russian Federation is the 2023 FISU World University Games Ekaterinburg.  It is very important to us that Russia will host FISU Univeristy World Cup Combat Sport in 2022 in Ekaterinburg and the FISU University World Cup Rugby Sevens in 2022 – 2026 in Kazan. We hope these events will be a success and a new boost for further development of university sports in our country, in Europe and the whole world. However, this is not the limit and we are always open and ready for new opportunities to host international university sports competitions and educational events of a different scale.

EUSA wishes the Russian Students Sports Union well for all their future endeavours, and looks forward to seeing their NUSA members and student-athletes at many of our events in future, especially at this summer's European Universities Games in Belgrade!