ITMO’s sports club, KronBars, is a relatively new addition to the university’s repertoire. But in a very short amount of time it has gained a great reputation and recognition amongst students and athletes, establishing the club’s brand. 

The club was founded with students in mind. Its main goal is to encourage students to engage in sports in addition to their studies, helping them to remain in good health and relieve stress, and with a hope that they will continue their active lifestyle even after graduation. It’s a great way for students to strive for new goals and have friendly competitions among departments, which KronBars organizes.

Sports are a mandatory part of the curriculum for Bachelor’s students. They have to rack up 400 hours of sport activities, which they can choose freely out of various options and facilities that suit their schedule.

“This flexibility is relatively new, but we wanted to make sure that the students would feel motivated to complete the mandatory hours while having control over their own schedule instead of having assigned schedules,” says Evgeny Raskin. 

Evgeny Raskin
Evgeny Raskin

What sports are available?

Students have access to 65 clubs and 50 different sports, including fencing, swimming, boxing, fitness, basketball, and chess, among others. Evgeny notes that fitness and its variations have remained popular since the day they were made available, and nowadays the club employs four instructors as the popularity of these activities continues to grow. Another very popular and sought-after sport is volleyball. The University’s fencing and ultimate frisbee teams, notes Evgeny, are very strong and have participated in numerous competitions. 

The clubs are separated into three different levels: basic, intermediate and professional. Basic-level clubs are open to everyone and students can sign up for them at any time. Intermediate- and professional-level clubs are meant for students who are in good physical condition and ready to compete. Intermediate-level clubs train students for reserve teams, while professional-level clubs are made up of well-trained students from select teams. Students can even be members of more than one such club – permitted their schedule allows that, as these activities require constant participation.  

Who can participate? 

Membership in KronBars is free and open to everyone. One can sign up in the University intranet system ISU: that includes regular students, exchange students and staff. Only summer school students are unable to participate, as the club’s facilities are closed during the summer. Students who are unable to engage in sports activities due to medical conditions are able to take theoretical classes or ones involving less physical strain. 

Exchange students who do not speak Russian, says Evgeny, are also welcome, since it’s an opportunity for them to get to know other students and start learning the language. Staff of the club are also able to communicate in English, so therefore it is not a challenge but an opportunity. 

He also notes that students and staff members can be part of the same teams, which helps them to learn to work with different people. But there are also separate classes available that are intended exclusively for University staff: around 10 different options altogether, chosen based on a survey.

Competitions and scholarships

ITMO’s students sports club has proven to be one of the best in Russia through active participation in various competitions and achievements. Its student athletes are amongst the most successful of those who have been proving themselves in competitions in Russian and abroad. 

KronBars also supports its athletes who participate in competitions and attain other sports achievements. The club covers expenses related to participation in competitions in Russia, helping the students to feel encouraged and supported. Student athletes can even become recipients of sports stipends of up to 30,000 rubles for their achievements in sports, and there are two different scholarships they can get. 

Some of ITMO University’s graduates have even participated in the Olympic Games. 

Beyond the medals

Today, KronBars is working towards improving the quality of its facilities and offering more ways for students to lead active lives. 

“We are working towards popularizing our brand and hope to find more partners to work with, but our main goal is to motivate students to live a healthier lifestyle; we strive to be accessible to them whenever they want to become more active.” 

While actively taking care of their health, students can also grow as individuals since sports teaches the importance of teamwork, communication skills, discipline, and perseverance – all the skills that will come in handy in everything the students decide to venture on in the future.

If you’re a student or a staff member at ITMO University and want to become part of KronBars, head over to the club’s official website, apply for membership, and then sign up for a club of your choosing through the University’s intranet system ISU.

Written by Veroonika Remets

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