The Diplomatic Games are a good tradition: the annual competition attracts great attention of the diplomatic community, sport organizations, and the public.
This year’s Summer Diplomatic Games were timed to coincide with the 97th anniversary of GlavUpDK and the 61st anniversary of Zavidovo, a traditional vacation destination of the diplomatic community in the remote part of the Moscow region.
Vadim Makarov, the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Property Management Department, read out greetings by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the contestants and employees of GlavUpDK at the opening ceremony of the 20th Summer Diplomatic Games. “You have been successfully accommodating and servicing foreign representatives for almost a century. Vast experience has been accumulated, and good traditions have been established over that period. Professionalism of the closely-knit collective of the Main Administration, the ability to create a comfortable environment for work and leisure, and Russian cordiality and hospitality have won broad recognition inside and outside our country,” Lavrov said.
“For 20 years, the Summer Diplomatic Games have been hosted by GlavUpDK’s affiliate, the Zavidovo Recreation Complex, a unique nature area where the waters of the Great Volga and the Shosha River merge. The strongest will be declared the victor. But friendship will win above all, as it always happens on GlavUpDK premises,” GlavUpDK Head Elena Zaritskaya told the audience.
Svetlana Zhurova, the State Duma First Deputy Chairperson for Foreign Affairs and Olympic champion, traditionally attended the event to support the contestants.
The opening ceremony was attended by acclaimed athletes, among them Olympic saber fencing champion Sofia Velikaya, Paralympian Alexey Obydyonnov, and five-time world pistol shooting champion, 2004 Olympic champion Mikhail Nestruyev.
Sofia Velikaya read out greetings by Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov. “The Diplomatic Games not just promote the development of sports in Russia, the healthy lifestyle, and the Olympic movement, but also help strengthen sport, cultural, and other kinds of interstate relations on all levels,” Velikaya said.
Daniyar Turusbekov, the Director of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Department of Protocol and Organizational Support, took an oath of allegiance to the sport movement on behalf of all contestants, and Igor Baranov, the Tennis Federation’s international umpire, pledged allegiance on behalf of the jury.
A press conference involving Zhurova, Zaritskaya, Mongolian Ambassador Banzragch Delgermaa, Velikaya, and Obydyonnov was held as part of the Summer Diplomatic Games.
“Sport is a great power that unites all us. The Mongolian Embassy has been an active participant of the Diplomatic Games for a decade,” Delgermaa said. She thanked GlavUpDK and Zavidovo for organizing the Games, which, in her words, are a great energizer.
The Diplomatic Games have been developing over years, and new sports have been included in the competition. The first-ever dominoes contest was included in the Games this year. Obydyonnov proposed at the press conference that such traditional sports as gorodki be added to the Games’ program next year.
Twenty-three teams took part in nine sport events, namely football, volleyball, basketball, skeet shooting, billiards, tennis, fishing, cross-country race, and dominoes.
The embassies of Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Vietnam, Zambia, Indonesia, Cameroon, China, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Laos, Moldova, Mongolia, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, South Africa, and South Ossetia sent their teams to the Games. Teams of the Russian Foreign Ministry, GlavUpDK, and the MFA’s Administration and General Services Department also took part in the competition.
The Diplomatic Games included a children’s cross-country race.
The Games had at least 500 contestants. The most popular sports were shooting (75 contestants), and fishing (71 contestants), as well as football played by 13 teams.
The jury traditionally included Russian athletes: Alexander Sintsov (volleyball), Vitaly Novikov (basketball), Vitaly Ten (billiards), Sergey Nikitin (football), and some others.
GlavUpDK annually organizes series of events for diplomatic missions accredited in Russia. The primary task of the Main Administration is to create maximally comfortable living and working conditions for foreign diplomats and introduce them to traditions, culture, and national peculiarities of our country.
GlavUpDK initiated the Diplomatic Games, which are held only in Russia.
The history of the Diplomatic Games started in 1997 with a ski race between diplomatic teams hosted by the Moscow Country Club, an affiliate of GlavUpDK. Those were the First Winter Diplomatic Games, which started the tradition of annual summer and winter diplomatic competitions.
The Russian Olympic Committee, the Russian Union of Athletes, and celebrated Russian athletes supported the Diplomatic Games from the very beginning and remain their loyal friends to this day.