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The mission of good is achievable

On February 4, after a peacekeeping campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic, a delegation of the Russian Union of Martial Arts returned to Moscow from Damascus. As a part of the Russian delegation there was a group of experts in mas-wrestling.

Yesterday a plane fr om Damascus landed on a snow-covered strip of the Vnukovo airport in Moscow. After a while the hall of arrival was filled with joyful noise and camera flashes. They met a large team in sports clothes with Russian symbols. This was a delegation of eleven sports federations representing different types of martial arts returning home fr om a one week trip - 55 people.
The purpose of the Russian delegation's visit is noble - helping the civilian population to establish a peaceful life after a long and destructive war, during which unfortunately civilians, including children, suffered. On behalf of the President of the International Mas-Wrestling Federation Mr. Alexander Akimov, an honorary mission was represented by Lena Tomskaya (head of the delegation), Mikhail Pakhomov, Maxim Zakharov and Evgeniy Pikonin.

Within the framework of the Russian-Syrian cooperation in sports, demonstration performances and master classes were organized in Damascus and Latakia, also an information session was held among the servicemen at the Khmeimim Air Base. Our events became the first large-scale peaceful sports events in these cities after a long break. Therefore, the sports complexes that were preserved after combats were full of spectators, mostly children. We were greeted with joy everywhere, receiving loud expressions of respect for Russia.

All the members of the Russian delegation made presentations with great enthusiasm to tell Syrian people about their sports. Mas-Wrestling specialists brought a large number of sports uniforms for children, as well as equipment for training and competitions in Mas-Wrestling.

Russian masters of sports Mikhail Pakhomov (The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and Evgeniy Pikonin (Moscow region)) conducted Mas-Wrestling master-classes. Besides Mas-Wrestling they showed Yakutian wrestling - Khapsagay. A great Mas-Wrestling enthusiast Maxim Zakharov has tried himself as a referee.

The delegation of the Russian Union of Martial Arts headed by Ramil Gabbasov was officially met at the House of Government by the Chairman of the National Olympic Committee of the Syrian Arab Republic, Major-General Mowaffak Joumaa, Deputy Chairman of the Syrian General Sports Federation Dr. Maher Khayata, Head of the Youth Affairs Department Ammar Maatti, Assistant Regional Secretary General of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party Hilal al-Hilal. During the meeting, the parties discussed plans for cooperation between Russia and Syria in the field of sports and agreed on the participation of Syrians in sports events in Russia, as well as sending coaches to Syria. They also discussed the issues of interaction in the field of student sports. President of the Russian Student Sports Union Sergei Seyranov offered assistance in training the coaching staff in Russian universities on a budgetary basis.

During the official conversation, they also discussed the development of Mas-Wrestling among Syrian children of school age. In this regard, they recalled the participation of the numerous Syrian team in the Children of Asia International Sports Games and the participation of the Syrian delegation in the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi in 2017, wh ere a student of a Russian high school from Syria won a one-on-one Mas-Wrestling tournament.

Departure of the Russian delegation was prepared in a mode of silence for obvious reasons and passed without wide publicity. But the Syrian public will surely remember the performance of Russian athletes for a long time. The youth of both countries enjoyed communication and took lots of selfies. Smiles were lit up on their faces all the time and words of gratitude to Russia were heard everywhere.

At the end of our trip, Syrian children of the learning center "Tomorrow Is Ours" arranged a welcome concert with their own efforts.  The students performed songs, danced and showed a theatrical performance. They presented all Russian guests with flowers and gifts made with their own hands. A young composer and pianist, who was awarded last year in the Kremlin played his compositions for us, deserving our stormy applause with his virtuosic play. After the concert, they sang the famous "Katyusha" together. This became a symbolic moment of the unity and friendship between Russian and Syrian people.

Then there was a gala dinner, wh ere all Russian athletes were awarded souvenirs from the Governor of Damascus, the Minister of Sports and the National Olympic Committee of Syria. Member of the Olympic Committee of Syria Ibrahim Abazid noted the importance of further cooperation between our countries in the field of children's and youth sports. At the same time, he expressed hope for the revival of close cooperation between the NOC of Syria and the International Mas-Wrestling Federation. We came to an agreement on the organization of training seminars for Syrian Mas-Wrestling experts and on the preparation of the children's national sports team for the next Children of Asia International Sports Games. Minister of Sports of the SAR also assured us that the strongest athletes of Syria will definitely take part in the Mas-Wrestling World Championship in Yakutsk this year.

Despite the depressing traces of military operations, it is clear that the people of Syria are striving with all their hearts to live a peaceful life. It is very sad that children become victims of the political games of adults. I want them to no longer hear explosions and the sounds of automatic bursts. We desire the war to finally end and they had an opportunity to massively engage in their favorite sports. The International Mas-Wrestling Federation is ready to help the Syrian athletes to receive training in order to take part in international Mas-Wrestling competitions. This is our response to the call of the country's leader Vladimir Putin to provide all-round assistance to the people of Syria in the post-war reconstruction of the country.

Author: Lena Tomskaya
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