Representatives of almost all Sakhalin Indigenous Minority Peoples of the North (IMPN) communities attended the meeting that was facilitated by the Sakhalin Governor’s Sports Advisor, Vladimir Fleyshgauer and supported by Nikolay Mizinin, Head of the Sakhalin IMPN Department.
The meeting kicked-off with a presentation by Exxon Neftegas Limited (ENL), the Sakhalin-1 Project Operator because the Sakhalin-1 International Consortium is the main sponsor of the annual Feeding of the Sea Master Festival. The Company discussed IMPN support programs and various aspects of those efforts. ENL regularly awards grants to preserve the IMPN traditions, languages and cultures, including national sports.
Traditional IMPN sports include archery, sled jumping, traditional wrestling, reindeer lassoing, racing with a stick, and axe throwing. Other unique and traditional IMPN national sports that get undeservedly little attention include javelin throwing at a seal and rifle shooting.
The roundtable participants discussed a number of specific issues with traditional IMPN sports. The initial issue revolves around the lack of consistent rules for these traditional sports. This issue occasionally causes disputes in how wrestling matches are judged and lack of proper preparation by athletes participating in sled jumping. Another great issue facing traditional IMPN sports is the lack of trainers and facilities to support athletes wanting to participate. Young athletes and trainers from Nogliki Bogdan Zadvorniy revealed that they have to travel to other villages and settlements to practice sports like axe throwing.
IMPN representatives also shared their personal experiences. Natalya Vladimirova from Okha discussed her efforts to develop dog sled racing. Natalya and her children train sled dogs and participate in races. However, this sport also needs additional support in order for it to develop further. Thus, in 2018, ENL will award Natalya a grant to purchase a racing sled, new dogs, and special gear to train future mushers.
Vladimir Fleyshgauer asked all participants of the roundtable to read a draft contract of Sakhalin IMPN All-Around Sports Federation, the regional non-government organization designed to protect IMPN sports. The new federation is to assist in addressing current issues traditional IMPN sports face in order to create conditions that develop and preserve them. Nikolay Mizinin stated that the IMPN Department is open to all feedback and suggestions related to sports development.