Media representatives accredited to the Gazprom Neft Cup in Minsk took part in the ‘Journalist Passion’ Air Hockey Championship.
While the future stars of ice hockey were working out their rankings on the ice at the most modern sports complex in Belarus, Chizhovka Arena, leading Russian and Belarussian journalists were competing in a simpler event — air hockey. Passions ran high from the first to the last second.
As in Gazprom Neft Cup itself, competitors were international. There was even a matching chief referee — vice president of the federation of table hockey of Russia, Alexander Shapiro. Evgeny Gusev, Rossia 24 operator played the role of commentator. Competition regulations were like in the grown up world championships — four subgroups, two best from each group go to play-off.
Victory in this amateur but very prestigious tournament went to NTV Plus correspondent Igor Sidorenko. One step lower was RBK Sport correspondent Vasily Oskolkov. The representative from Sportivny Obozrevatel (Yekaterinburg) Andrei Ivanov took third place.
“This was the first time in my life that I played air hockey,” admitted the winner Igor Sidorenko. “I think the most important thing in this competition was that we felt united. I want to say a big thank you to the organisers, who arranged this excellent chance for us to relax and have fun. The tournament was of course just for fun, but our emotions were real — it was a really good time.”
The rest of the participants were in solidarity with the winners and even came to the conclusion that air hockey could definitely be put in the list of sports for professional journalists.
“This friendly tournament had all the important qualities for each journalist,” said the correspondent from Novosti Yugry (Khanty-Mansiysk), Alexei Neiman. “Perseverance, the desire to achieve your goals... just as important as the ability to combine joy in the victory with respect for your opponent.”