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St. Petersburg Mining University has set a record for the number of students involved in physical education at the same time

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In all of the university's sports complexes, which have a total area of nearly 11,000 square meters, 880 people can train in parallel.

Of course, this is the upper limit, achieved through the commissioning of another fitness center, which opened its doors at the beginning of the current academic year. Usually the occupancy rate of sports facilities in Gorny is about 80%, and varies depending on the form of classes.

For example, if the game room is warming up, that is, young people are doing general training exercises, it can hold about a hundred students. But a basketball or volleyball training session should be much less crowded. Otherwise its effectiveness will not be at its best.

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All in all, the educational centers of Russia's oldest technical university, which will celebrate its 250th anniversary next year, have four modern sports complexes. They are a combination of halls for games and martial arts, as well as fitness centers equipped not only with barbells, dumbbells and treadmills, but also with advanced models of cardio machines. They offer both physical education classes and the kind of exercise classes that undergraduate and graduate students attend after lectures.

"We don't prioritize any sports. We try to pay attention to each of them: strength, individual, technical, artistic, martial arts, sports games. That allows us to attract as many students as possible. And if in 2006 when we founded the Gornyak club all our sections were aimed at the result, that is we prepared pupils for competitive activities, now our task is somewhat transformed. We greatly increased the general development areas: yoga, fitness, modern dances, internal sports leagues. As a result, today about 60% of visitors of our sections are engaged not in order to take high places at the level of the city or the country, but "for themselves", for health", - Ilya Panchenko, the chairman of Gornyak sports club, said.

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Such an approach did not prevent the Gorny team, despite the huge competition, to take first place in the overall championship of St. Petersburg universities by the results of the last academic year. Moreover, university teams took part in tournaments in all kinds of sports, no other institution of higher education in the city could boast such an achievement before. It was possible due to the mass involvement of young people in a healthy lifestyle.

"For many years the management of St. Petersburg Mining University and the rector personally pay a lot of attention to development of sports infrastructure and popularization of physical education among teenagers and young people. In particular, they allocate funds to pay coaches after-hours and send our teams to participate in high-profile competitions such as the Student Sports Leagues. Another important factor is properly assessing incoming athletic potential. We administer an annual freshman survey to understand what they have done before and what they would like to do in the future. And only after that, in the second week of September, we form a schedule of training sessions taking into account the preferences of young people," explained Ilya Panchenko.

In addition to the four modern sports complexes at the disposal of children and teachers there is a 25-meter swimming pool, located in the Training Center № 2, gyms in dormitories, as well as sports facilities at country bases. All these sports facilities, which have no counterparts, at least in St. Petersburg higher education institutions, allow for simultaneous training in 16 sports. The total attendance of the university's sports infrastructure is 2,500-3,000 people a day.

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According to Alexander Simakov, the Honored Coach of Russia, Honored Master of Sports of the Russian Federation, World Taekwondo Champion, and Associate Professor of Physical Education Department at Gorny, the availability of new, advanced training equipment directly promotes the interest of students and graduate students in section classes.

"When guys realize that after lectures they can go to a state-of-the-art gym, and they don't even have to go outside to do it, the likelihood of that happening is pretty high. Training in a fitness center allows you to increase your overall fitness level, which is crucial to progress in any sport. Taekwondo, for example, today more than 40 students are engaged in it, including girls. About half of them take part in city competitions. To a large extent this has become possible thanks to the development of sports infrastructure," says Alexander Simakov.

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Of course, despite huge investments in the modernization of the material base and construction of new facilities, the Mining University still has to rent some of the playgrounds. For example, the Vasileostrovsky District Sports Center has a large soccer field and a hockey box. There' also a tennis court, a track and field arena, kayaks and yachts in the rowing club. The development of these areas also would not have been possible without the university's commitment to increasing the number of undergraduate and graduate students who lead healthy lifestyles.

"All of our training is free. There are about 70 people on various soccer teams at Gorny: men's, women's, beach, and futsal. But the involvement of young people is much more significant. So, in the university's soccer league, which is now in its eighth season, 22 teams are involved. That's about 300 people. The vast majority of them go not only to classes in physical education, but also to the gym. This gives the body an additional tone, makes it easier to bear the load on the field, and also motivates the kids to study," says Ilya Bobrov, head coach of the university's soccer team.

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It is well known that the task of any university is not only to train highly qualified specialists, but also to educate citizens distinguished by broad education, patriotism, high standards of moral and moral culture, decency, and good health. For mining engineers, many of whom in the future will have to work "in the fields", in the harsh conditions of the Far North, the last point is especially important. Although, no doubt, strong immunity will also be useful for those of them whose career will be built in a more comfortable environment.