The Seeds of Olympic Sports Dreams are Planted in a Tusyan Village Sport Hall
Thousands of athletes competing in Rio this summer will be living out their Olympic sports dreams. These dreams were born in sports complexes across the world, in big cities and small villages. These small seeds of hope were cultivated inside strong walls and watered with the tears and sweat from athletes, coaches, and families.
This year the children of Tusyan Village in Tajikistan will finally have a place to plant their own Olympic sports dreams. With help from CAI, the more than twenty-year-old building will be repaired.
The original construction began in the Soviet era. With the fall of the Soviet Union the building fell into disrepair, with the walls crumbling, the dirt floor pitted, and the large windows broken. The shell sits dormant in the cold weather, while the children run, box, and play volleyball wherever they can find space waiting for the return of the warm weather.
CAI will work with the villagers to plaster the walls, finish the floor, add windows and doors, and run water to the locker rooms. The sports hall will serve the local school’s 310 children, ages six to seventeen, as well as the surrounding community.
A place to train Olympic champions
Tusyan village is teeming with talent, grit, and competition. Until now, the natural drive and talent of these athletes could not be properly cultivated. The village volleyball team won the district competition, but they know they can be much better once they have an updated space to practice consistently.
Maasad Oknonialolov, a boy from the village, loves to watch the village team. His father is a famous volleyball player and Maasad has dreams of following in his footsteps. With the construction of the new sport hall, Maasad will have a safe space to practice and access to consistent coaching to follow his dreams.
Along with volleyball, Tusyan Village is growing boxing champions. Last year a female boxer from the village won a GBAO competition. When the sport hall is complete, she and other teens will receive better and more consistent training and the opportunity to shine in bigger competitions.
The boxing coach, Faisulobek, studied in Russia and trained for five years in Moscow. His burgeoning team of two girls and five boys have the grit and determination to make it far. Moiz, an eleven-year-old boy, wants to become a professional boxer when he grows up. He trains for two hours a day in a small room lined with mirrors, banging his frayed gloves against taped together punching bags and ill-fitting mits.
A safe place to gather
The sport hall isn’t just for athletes with their eyes on the Olympics. The hall’s completion will mean a safe space for students to hang out after school and an avenue to learn new skills. The sports hall will also support running, volleyball, basketball, and other fun games to promote physical activity and socialization. The teenagers are looking forward to spending more time there, trying new activities and keeping busy.
With the completion of the new sports hall expected soon, the children and people of the village are getting ready to up their training. As the Olympic athletes in Rio step up to the starting line or wait for the buzzer to begin, the people of Tusyan village will step up to the line as well. They have the determination and willpower to succeed in their sports, and now they have a place to put that grit to work. Keep an eye out in future summer games, because the desires and dreams of these young athletes finally have someplace to grow.