Athletes’ Day is celebrated in Russia on the second Saturday in August. Strengthening health, physical culture and sport improves and develops not just the body, but the mind as well, teaches perseverance in achieving goals, disciplines, courage, and harden your will. So, it’s difficult to overestimate the meaning of physical culture and sport to society. Today, Athlete’s Day is a professional holiday to all coaches, athletes, and simple lovers of physical sport. Teachers of the Institute of Sport, Tourism, and Service are not just professionals in education, but also masters of sport and have rich sports experience. Aleksey Shakhovskiy, master of sport in boxing and kickboxing, lecturer in the Department of Sports Perfection, head coach of the SUSU boxing team, told us about his path in sport and the main qualities of an athlete.
– Tell us, how did you start doing sports? How old were you? Why did you choose this sport in particular?
– I registered for a boxing class after watching a competition in this sport at 12 years old. It was difficult to begin – the people I trained with had been there 2 years already, and I was a total beginner and walked around beat up after sparring. But I didn’t drop the boxing class, and I steadily learned everything. I started training in boxing only because I wanted to try and train and compete in competitions, I didn’t think I would tie my life to boxing.
– What do you like most of all about your sport? What is the most difficult thing?
– The most difficult thing is self-discipline – when you have to go to training every day and put up with the pain and fatigue. And you are the only one who can prove this to yourself. I like the strength and courage that you receive as a reward from boxing. After all, this really is a reward that you have earned with sweat and blood – in the literal sense.
– Have there been any interesting stories from training camps, competitions, or training sessions? What experience in your sports career will you never forget?
– There were a lot of stories. After all, I spent a lot of my youth in training camps, in training, or at competitions. For example, at an international tournament in Athens, we went to walk around the city after the competition. Walking around the city, we saw orange trees, it was totally covered in ripe oranges. We, of course, didn’t hold back, climbed up the tree, and took as many as we could. But when we started peeling them and eating them, they were unbelievably sour. And only later we found out that they grow decorative orange trees in the city. Their fruit is not meant for eating, but for beauty – so that’s why it was so strange. A sport experience that is difficult to forget – that would be losing to a much weaker opponent. This is a really healthy sports experience. You can never underestimate your opponent.
– What is the most important thing for an athlete? Does mastery of this sport come in handy in real life?
– For an athlete, it’s very important to understand the path you’re taking. You need to clearly understand that you have chosen this path yourself, and that you need this. Then you can find the strength to overcome all difficulties. Sport trains people – overcoming ourselves, we improve. Sport trains such qualities as strength, confidence, purpose, patience, and courage – these are qualities very important for people, they, of course, are needed in daily life.
– You also teach. What is the most important thing to teach a student? Why did you choose to be a teacher and athlete?
– It’s important to learn independence and responsibility. Student years are the first step to adult life, and it’s important for them to understand that their future depends on them alone. I love sport, but I love teaching and learning even more, so I chose this path.