Pobediteley Avenue in Minsk is considered one of the sport-friendliest places: it houses the Palace of Sports and Minsk Arena, many bicycle routes, places for workouts. This spring the avenue welcomed another landmark facility: the National Rhythmic Gymnastics Olympic Training Center (the Palace of Gymnastics).
All along the avenue you can see the billboards with the images of the Belarusian gymnasts saying “Dreams Come True!”. For gymnasts it is not just lofty words. Now the Belarusian rhythmic gymnastics team has got a new cozy home. At the entrance to the center there is a sculptural composition of gymnastic ribbons with a similar inscription “Dreams Come True! The place for forging new champions”. Next to the granite ball there is a handprint of the famous Belarusian gymnast, Olympic champion Marina Lobach.
The building attracts attention from afar with its unusual architectural shape. The walls create the effect of soaring gymnastic ribbons. The project to build the center was delayed for a long time. Head coach Irina Leparskaya said she was running from pillar to post to get the project rolling until the Belarus President, head of the National Olympic Committee Alexander Lukashenko took the project under his control.
The active stage of the construction project began in October 2016. The rhythmic gymnastics complex comprises two large training rooms, two rooms for beginners, four choreography rooms, an aerobics room, a swimming pool, two saunas, a gym, a sunroom, a cafe, 18 hotel rooms, a cardio area, a physiotherapy room, a massage room, medical treatment and recreation rooms for athletes and coaches, and an administrative unit.
The head of state made a personal contribution to the project. Together with senior staff of the Belarusian Gymnastics Association and big-name athletes, Alexander Lukashenko worked at the site as part of the Voluntary Clean-Up Day on 22 April 2017.
The construction was completed in a very short time. In the last days prior to the inauguration ceremony, Director of the National Rhythmic Gymnastics Center Mikhail Yevsyuk literally stayed overnight in the new facility to oversee the finishing touches being put on the center.
Mikhail Yevsyuk proudly shows the journalists around the building. “We had a complete understanding with the construction company. Whenever Construction Trust No. 1 had any questions, we explained what we wanted and had our requests granted. I did not expect that such a facility could be constructed within such a short period of time,” the center's director remarked.
The center has a number of halls for training and hosting national competitions. Many-time European and world championship medalist Yekaterina Galkina has already been polishing her new program in one of the halls. Team training is also underway.
There is necessary equipment for physiotherapy and also classes for theory training.
Belarusian gymnasts are happy with the new center. “I have already examined every corner of the center. It is really great,” Olympic medalist Inna Zhukova said.
“I must confess the center is amazing. It is a gift to our athletes. Keeping in mind the space-limited environment in the old center, the size of the new center is impressive. I am happy for the girls who train today. They will have everything necessary under one roof,” Olympic medalist Kseniya Sankovich said.
Photo by Oksana Manchuk