The Words of the Samko Family
Parnu, Estonia -- As global attention focused on the FIFA World Cup in July, youth from six Baltic nations converged on Estonia for a tournament in the spirit of "Play Football, Make Peace."
Each year, more and more teams converge on the town of Pärnu on Estonia's Baltic coast to participate in its Summer Cup. This year was the eighth such tournament, and 96 teams competed for medals in various age groups from July 1 to 4. There were competitions for boys born between 1994 and 2001 and for girls born after 1995. In addition to various parts of Estonia, teams came from Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine.
Representing Russia, the team from the Brateyevo Club near Moscow, coached by Elfralo Valeyev and Artur Tumasyan, made their commendable début by taking eighth place in the category of boys born in 1999.
The event was interspersed with joyful emotions, rivalry, and even tears of disappointment after defeat in the series of post-match penalties. All who were present were greatly impressed by the grand sports parade at the opening, when the big column of participants with banners and balloons went marching through the central part of the city.
Visionary Estonians also organized a separate mini-tournament in which coaches, drivers of the Finish delegation, and members of the organizing committee competed. In this tournament, the representatives of Russia were unsurpassed. They played with Estonian coaches and won. The goals achieved after effective ball passes by Yuri Karpa and Artur Tumasyan along with the competent playing of the goalkeeper Dmitry Samko in the penalty series guaranteed success.
It is worth noting that the well-known Estonian football player Martin Reim played for this team, and he brought with him to the tournament in Pärnu the children of his sports school in Talinn. Retired from professional competition since 2008, he teaches not only football skills; he challenges players to develop their individuality and character.
The special feature of the Play Football, Make Peace tournament is its social orientation. Strong passions were boiling up on the green football fields, and all players did their utmost to win and gain sports medals for their native cities. The well-known slogan "Victory is not the priority; the priority is participation" was heard throughout the event. Athletes were playing football for peace and friendship, transcending language barriers, national borders, and political differences.
As is generally known, football is not just a game; it is a very effective instrument for promoting social and humanitarian ideas. The recent FIFA World Cup games in the Republic of South Africa are the proof.
Of course, for the boys from Brateyevo, participation in this championship was of great importance. For some of them, it might be the first step into professional sports, and for all of them it is already an excellent example of healthy lifestyle. Let's hope that the tournament served as a lesson to all, showing that peace, friendship, and mutual respect begin within each of us.
Note: For information in seven languages about the Pärnu Summer Cup, visit its website www.summercup.org.