The International Forum of Young Olympians, a cultural and educational seminar for young athletes aged 14-17, potential participants of the Olympic Games, was held in Moscow on June, 1. More than 100 athletes from 16 countries took part in the forum.
Belarus was presented by the medalists of the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival Yevgeny Puzanov (figure skating) and Vitaly Pinchuk (hockey) and potential participants of the European Youth Olympic Summer Festival Polina Slesarenko (judo) and Elizaveta Grishkevich (track and field athletics).
Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), spoke at the opening of the forum, pointing out the symbolism of the date – June 1, Children's Day: "Our main task is to protect you, young athletes, from today's vicious challenges in sport. First of all, I mean doping. We pay a lot of attention to opposing doping and we are happy that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) support us." The Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency Olivier Niggli also mentioned the importance of enlightenment in these matters and education for counteracting doping.
The forum for young athletes consisted of three parts: an educational unit, a quiz and a cultural program. In quiz, containing questions about the youth Olympic movement and the values of Olympism, the Belarusian team won the third place. Polina and Elizaveta took part in a panel discussion with all the honored guests.
Some famous Russian athlete attached each team of participants. Skier Nikolaу Morilov, bronze medalist of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, took patronage over the Belarusian athletes. He accompanied the athletes during the educational panel.
Nikolay Morilov told: "Many times I took part in sports events, but in the International Forum of Young Olympians I participate for the first time. This is a significant event not only for young athletes, but for me, as well. It is interesting because young athletes who are already professionals in their sports, met at the forum. It is interesting for them to socialize with us, and we are interested in their thoughts and hopes. Sharing experiences is always pleasant. And it is important for the young to learn more about counteracting doping. In the meantime, they learned more about Olympism and the rules of fair competition. This knowledge will definitely be useful to them in the future."
The Belarusian participants found this forum useful, and the obtained knowledge relevant and applicable in their professional activity.
Vitaly Pinchuk: "I met many new people from different countries, get acquainted with them, learned more about WADA. The most difficult questions in the quiz were, for example, to indicate the exact date of the first Youth Olympic Games. I would like the forum to be a little longer the next time – then we can become acquainted better and make friends."
Elizaveta Grishkevich: "I really liked the forum. I met many people, we shared information not only about ourselves, but also about our native towns. Now I have friends from Armenia and Russia. The organizers said good words – I was impressed. Before the forum I knew that I would not take anything forbidden, but after this forum I’m strengthened in my confidence."
Polina Slesarenko: "I met a lot of new people, exchanged gifts – that is always interesting. Once again, I was convinced – you must stand for the fair sport. We were explained how to pass the doping control procedure without accident. This information is useful for me."
Yevgeny Puzanov: "There was nothing odd at the forum – everything was interesting and useful. They told us about doping control applications. The quiz was really great. They told us more about the values of Olympism – this is what every athlete must know."
At the end of the day, participants of the forum took a boat trip along the Moskva River and a sightseeing tour of the Russian capital.