Russian and Serbian ministers meet in gala basketball clash at SPIEF
On June 1, a basketball gala match took place as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum sports programme. The Russia vs Serbia game, with the hosts winning with the score 40:31, was the highlight of the evening. Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich was the Russian team captain, while Serbia’s team was led by Serbian Minister of Economy Goran Knezevic and Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Branislav Nedimovic.
This morning, the Forum opened on the business session ‘Sports – a Space for Trust’. And later on, in the evening, the basketball court afforded an excellent example of how a sport can bring people together and erase boundaries. “Such gala games, with government representatives playing for both sides, is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen relations between the two countries involved and promote sports,” said President of the Russian Olympic Committee and First Deputy Speaker of State Duma Alexander Zhukov acting as head coach of the Russian team.
The evening opened with the ‘VTB Arena Open: Match of Two Capitals’ with the teams of Moscow and St. Petersburg teams ending in a tie with the score 54:54.
The Moscow team included Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov, head of the VTB Arena Park project Andrei Peregudov, President of Bank Rossiysky Capital Mikhail Kuznetsov, meritorious artist of Russia Gosha Kutsenko, President of the VTB United League Sergei Kushchenko, two-times basketball champion Ilona Korstin.
The St. Petersburg team included member of the State Duma and speed skating champion Svetlana Zhurova, President of the Russian Basketball Federation Andrei Kirilenko, Governor of the Krasnoyarsk Region Viktor Tolokonsky and business representatives.
“When we have shared interests, in this case basketball, doing business and making political alliances is easier. It is important for us that many prominent political and business figures enjoy basketball. Russia is currently bidding to host the European Basketball Championship in 2019 and the Basketball World Cup in 2023. Government and business support is vital for the bid, since sports events of such a scale can only be held by concerted effort,” Andrei Kirilenko said.