Why I Think ITMO Has the Best Sports

This university can make you LOVE sports even if you didn’t before. Let me explain how.

Visualisation of me being bored during the class. Credit: perfectstock.ru

In school I was not into sports. I attended physical education classes, but tried to wait them out sitting on a bench, while my classmates were playing.

Then in 2018 I successfully started studying at ITMO University. I was amazed with the city, new lifestyle (no more living with parents) and the pace of learning.

The thing I was surprised with even more was the ability to choose physical education classes from many options. A competitor? And tall? Welcome to basketball or volleyball. Like yoga? Then do it! (yeah, even yoga is an option). Gym, athletics, badminton, shooting and many many more options are here. There’s almost a guarantee you will find something you like. Or will like.

I chose basketball. Of course, because I think I’m tall and because this was the main sport at my school, we often did well in regional competitions. So I knew how to throw a ball.

The first day in this new environment was great! I felt like the guys were all roughly at the same level of skill as me, so it was fun.

But the next class… By the way, I chose two different classes. Two classes of basketball. So this time there were different people and a different teacher.

It was scary! All I remember from this class is a 110kg guy flying at me with the ball while I was standing below the basket.

They were much more skilled and stronger. At this point my competitor’s soul was born.

Me with this guy after the class. Credit: gettyimages
Me with this guy after the class. Credit: gettyimages

But actually in ITMO they have different skill levels of sports classes. Here they are:

  • beginner
  • intermediate
  • professional

Starting from intermediate, students may visit local and worldwide competitions. So there is an opportunity for you to shine if you have the skills.

I do not. So I participate at the beginner level of sports.

But there is an even more cool thing. Cybersport. But first, let me tell you about a fun thing that happened during the 2020 pandemic.

The first wave was controlled strictly in Russia. As a result, the university's physical education department was required to think of remote classes.

They came up with an obvious thing. Strava (the running app). But this was also the time for ITMO Poker Club to shine. Yes. From this moment, you could pass the physical education course by playing poker. I liked this so much. Not only me. The club tripled in the number of participants. There was also a possibility of playing CSGO and DOTA 2 to pass the course.

So back to cybersport. ITMO has an active community involved in cybersports. We have a team in CSGO and DOTA 2. We attend Russian student cybersport league competitions every year. There are open qualifications for a place in the university's team. So if you have the ambitions — go and make your dream come true.

Photo from CS:GO competition in ITMO. Credit: KronBars ITMO (vk.com/kb_esports)
Photo from CS:GO competition in ITMO. Credit: KronBars ITMO (vk.com/kb_esports)

This is pretty much it. ITMO taught me to love competing and created beautiful memories. It was possible because of the university’s approach to physical education. This approach is why I think ITMO has the best sports.

Written by Sergey Kozka