105th Anniversary of University Sport in Saint-Petersburg State Polytechnic University on the way to the 90th anniversary of «TiPFK»


V.P. Sushchenko, professor, Dr.Hab.
St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg
A.A. Napreenkov, associate professor, postgraduate student
St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design, St. Petersburg

Keywords: university sport, sports club, student sports league, physical education, higher school.

Introduction. The student sports team of St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University (founded in 1899) takes a special place in the historical chronicle of formation and development of university sport in Russia.

The purpose of the study was to summarize the experience of many years of practice of organizing student public sports organizations of St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University.

Results and discussion. The first record of the state of the physical training of students of St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute named after Peter the Great is dated January 1903, that is, almost immediately after the beginning of studies in the Institute (1902): "The other day the Minister of Finance S.Yu. Witte visited the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute and after careful examination of the institution, among other things, asked about the available means of entertaining of the students during the rest time in the newly established institution. It turned out that only pianos, ice skating rink and skis were the only ways of entertainment. The Minister found it insufficient and recommended the administration of the Institute to augment these means if possible with, for example, gymnastics, athletics and other sports activities. 6,000 rubles were allocated to implement this. The Institute decided to buy two pool tables, gymnastics facilities and several accessories for weightlifting exercises" (Physical development in higher education institutions // "Samokat". 4 January, 1903, № 459, p. 7).

The records about sports equipment were in the list of belongings of the dormitory of St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute (PPI) for 1902-1905. In particular, there were a vaulting buck, a climb rope, gymnastic bars, dumbbells, skittles, balls for skittles and lawn tennis and fencing equipment [2].

After the introduction of the rules on student organizations and public meetings in higher education institutions (11 June, 1907), the PPI students were the first who organized an amateur sports team on 30 January, 1908. A group of sports enthusiasts gathered the students who wished to exercise. The Swedish gymnastics, weightlifting and Greco-Roman wrestling exercises were shown to 150 participants of the meeting. It was decided to organize a sports circle with a membership fee of 1 ruble per six months. The students familiar with particular sports conducted classes for free. Eminent professors I.P. Pavlov, M.A. Shatelen, V.V. Skobel’tsyn and A.N. Klassen who were at the meeting took this initiative with sympathy. Several football teams were formed and the athletics, swimming, rowing and skiing classes were being conducted. Sports historian O.Yu. Bushman noted that this fact marked the beginning of the sports movement among the students not only in St. Petersburg, but throughout Russia ("Sportivnaya nedelya Leningrada", 1 November, 1968, № 44/436, p. 2), and Head of the Physical Education Department G.B. Mikhalkin (1948) wrote that the sports circle of PPI was the strongest in tsarist Russia.

As noted in the documents of PPI student organizations of the period from 1902 to 1912, the Regulations of sports and aeronautic circles were approved by the Board of the Institute on 3 April, 1908; chess circle – on 19 November, 1908 (redrafted - on 5 May, 1910); amateur sailing circle - on 28 January, 1909 ("Politekhnik", 17 November, 1912, № 3, p. 4). At a meeting in the presence of 200 people the founder of the sports circle and its chairman Yu.I. Simpman-Vambola was elected as the honorary life chairman on 8 October, 1912 and V.P. Vember was appointed the actual chairman.

We can also find out the information on the directions of work of the circle from the quotation from the sports journal "Russkiy start" (1909): "A sports evening was organized by the sports circle of St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute in its new gym the other day, which attracted a lot of people. The members of the circle were shown a series of exercises using the gymnastic equipment and the exercises with weights. In addition, few pairs performed to show Greco-Roman wrestling. The circle arranged outdoor athletics competitions soon ("Russkiy start", 1909, № 22, p. 12).

On 16 March, 1910 the first congress of student sports organizations took place on the initiative of the circle members, where the actual state of university sport was revealed. On 25 April, 1910 the Institute students held the first in Russia open student athletics competitions at Forestry Institute involving the athletes from PPI, Forestry, Technology and Electronic Technical Institutes and from the Academy of Arts. The program included triathlon (100 m run, high jumps and shot put) and a 5 km cross-country race. The first official athletics competition of St. Petersburg students took place on 26 September, 1911 with the participation of teams from five universities. The students of the Institute won the team competition. In 1912, the University Sports League held the first play for the football championship. It involved students from PPI, Mining, Electronic Technical, Technology, Polytechnic Institutes and from Military Medical Academy.

On 18 March, 1914 the city festival "St. Petersburg Sports Week" in Mikhaylovskiy Manege (1.5 thousand people from about 40 societies filed applications) was also attended by the members of sports organizations of higher education institutions. It was noted that the largest group was from PPI ("Russkiy sport", 23 March, 1914, № 12, p. 7). In 1915, on behalf of the Petrograd Student Sports League the PPI activists organized a ski championship among the universities of the city ("Sportivnaya nedelya", 22 February, 1915, № 7, p. 3-4).

During the First World War and the Civil War the development of university sport in Russia was suspended, however, indirectly we can assume that the circle at Polytechnic Institute still existed in these grim years.

It is known that in St. Petersburg in the mid-1920s the work in the field of sports was carried out by the "Spartak" organization of physical training of proletarian youth of the Komsomol and its Regulations in the North-West region were dated 28 July, 1922. There were about 700 "sportsmanlike" (the word from the press of those years) private organizations in and around the city at this time. They were united into the "Krasny Soyuz" by the Universal Military Training, but in fact, they had nothing to do with this organization and were busy restoring the old traditions. In the fall of 1922 the "Krasny Soyuz" was closed.

In 1922, the students of the Institute were among the competitors in the inter-university football championship ("Vechernyaya krasnaya gazeta", 23 November, 1922, № 49, p. 4). But if in July, 1923 the sports circle of Polytechnic Institute was "in the hands of the old studentship" it then was reorganized into the 8th department of the VI regional branch of "Spartak" involving almost 450 people (as of January 1924) ("Smena", 20 February, 1924, № 15/68, p. 4).

The VI Congress of the Komsomol (12.06 -16.06.1924) decided to transfer the authorities in the field of physical education to trade unions. The boards of physical culture were supposed to take the responsibility for all the work in the area. In this regard, the district provincial bureaus, the central bureau of "Spartak" and the sports commissions of the Komsomol were eliminated. However, the name "Spartak" was remembered for a long time after and subsequently the circles, including the one in Polytechnic Institute, often had a double name: "A physical education class was organized within the club. It will be the center of all the work of "Spartak" ("Tovarishch", 20 May, 1930, № 41/136, p. 4).

Further physical education classes were carried out in sports sections. There was a bureau of physical education in the university. As a result of the Summer Spartakiad of technical colleges of the People's Commissariat of the Tank Industry (1934) the students were awarded a bicycle station for 50 bicycles, a car, 20 000 roubles and 25 Crimea trip vouchers. "A special sports school involving 12 departments (gymnastics, skiing, skating, basketball, swimming, boxing, etc.) was established. 1085 people were being trained in the sports school by the special teaching staff - 34 trainers - the best specialists" ("Krasnoe studenchestvo", April 1935, № 4, pp. 26-27).

In 1935, the Institute team won the I All-Union Spartakiad of universities, technical colleges, technical schools and workers' faculties and was awarded the major sports trophy - a banner with the inscription "Country's best university in the field of physical culture work". The list of the first student records, approved as the result of the I All-Union Spartakiad (according to the decree of the Presidium of the All-Union Council of Physical Culture of the USSR dated 09.19.1935), contains the records in athletics and swimming. And the latter includes two national records in 100m freestyle (1.04,7) and in 400m freestyle (5.59,5) which belong to S. Mashkovtsev - the Industrial Institute student (the former name of Polytechnic Institute) ("Krasnoe studenchestvo", 1935 № 12, p. 21).

When the question of the transition to a new higher level of organizational work - the creation of sports clubs - arose,  the representatives of universities joined the discussion: "The administration and social organizations of Industrial and Mining Institutes brought the attention of the Committee for Physical Culture and Sports of the City Council to the issue of creation of student voluntary sports clubs" (regarding the establishment of sports clubs in the largest universities // "Spartak", 21 November, 1936, № 91. p. 3).

According to the decree of the Secretariat of the All-Union Central Trade Union Council in 1947 on the basis of the department of voluntary sports society "Nauka", located within the walls of the 1st building of Polytechnic Institute since 1945, the sports club "Politekhnik" was created ("Politekhnik", 17 May, 1947, № 19/1141, p. 4). Since 1955, the students of the Institute began to participate in the competitions held by the voluntary sports society "Burevestnik". Of great interest are the form of student self-government and the experience of the student sports club in the first half of the 1950s, described in detail by D.Yu. Nikitov [4].

In 1960-1980 the "Politecknik" was a structural subdivision of the regional council of the voluntary sports society "Burevestnik" and had some staffing and financial independence, a running bank account and was receiving targeted funding [3]. There were only six such clubs in the city. The other clubs were successfully developing within the structures of the trade union organizations of the universities. The characteristic features of the sports club of the Institute in those years were the systematic efforts to improve the results of student-athletes in the field of elite sports and providing the training process of the students of the youth sports school, which was a part of the club. At the beginning of the 1990s the "Politecknik" became a structural division of the university.

Here are some interesting moments from the sports team chronicle. In 1959 the first competitions between the students from different campus buildings were held. In 1962, the sports clubs of Textile and Polytechnic Institutes took the responsibility of training skilled athletes out of 30% of the students from both universities each (Central State Archive of St. Petersburg F. 9810. Op. 1. D. 107. L. 25). And these commitments were successfully met. Since 1962, the club had 33 sports sections. The physical education department and the club were jointly organizing sports competitions in three stages: inter-group, inter-course and inter-faculty. And the final part was the competitions in 16 sports disciplines.

The work with children was carried out in 11 sports, involving up to 2000 children. The swimming school was breaking even, involving 400 children; the school of figure skating - 350 children; the school of rhythmic gymnastics - 185 children (Central State Archive of St. Petersburg F. 4765. Op. 3. D. 179. L. 21). There is a certificate for the victory in the first municipal Spartakiad "Zdorov`ye" among university teachers and staff (1968) in the university museum. The idea of ​​the Spartakiad belongs to the team of the sports club "Politekhnik".

In 1980, the Institute's social organizations addressed a request to other university teams of the city regarding staging a contest for the best academic group of physical education. The competitions were held on the basis of Polytechnic Institute and it was a new form of work (Central State Archive of St. Petersburg F. 9810. Op. 1. D. 542. L. 49). Another initiative was to conduct the competitions between foreign students who were studying in higher education institutions of the city. And such competitions are being held to this day.

The physical education departments and sports clubs were almost equally responsible for the sports life in the universities. "Although the department is required to manage the educational process and the club manages the extra-academic sports activities, it is difficult to understand in such universities as Polytechnic Institute where the responsibilities of the department end and those of the club begin" [1, p. 33]. "The same teachers work with students during academic and sectional evening hours. This allows the teachers to train Institute's teams better, because they are always in touch with the students - from the first to the last year of study" [1, p. 18].

There is an objective feature of the student sports club - natural personnel changes associated with the students’ period of study in the university. Special attention is always paid to the staff potential of the sports club. Talented and socially active young people are always being searched for. Hundreds of students have gone through the school of social work in the sports club. Such work taught the students to be responsible and independent, to know the basics of the organizational activity and stimulates their initiative. The staff of physical training in the pre-war years was led by Rogoza and Danilevsky. During its post-war development the club was headed by: M.I. Gal’perin, N. Smotrin, O.V. Kosmin, D.Yu. Nikitov, N. Saskovets, V. Yam, B.P. Kitovich, O.B. Strazhmeyster, L.I. Nozhkin, I.V. Polyakov, L.V. Shitikova, P.F. Sukhinin, B.K. Tikhomirov, N.S. Rybchak, V.V. Belousov, P.V. Polovnikov, V.I. Patronov, V.A. Matveev, V.Yu. Volkov and V.P. Sushchenko. The present head of the club is R.A. Agaev. The sports club "Politekhnik" cherished the traditions that had been established by previous generations of student-athletes and is currently coordinating the work of other three sports clubs of the university.

Here are some figures. For example, 672 city sports events were carried out in St. Petersburg in the period of 2001-2010 and the students of the University participated in 488 of them, which is 72.6%. At the same time they were winners 174 times (25.9%). The statistics of participation in the student championships in 2013/14 academic years is even more impressive: the students of the University participated in 73 of 76 (96.1%) sports events of similar program and won 35 times (46.1%).

Conclusions. The study has revealed the major organizational features of the origin and development of the university sport in St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University. The potential of the actualization of the matter of interest is related to self-organization and amateur activities of young people in the framework of the first university sports club of the institute, which became a model for similar activities in other universities of the country. Unfortunately, informational materials and statistical indicators of victories and achievements of polytechnic students, forms and trends of development of individual sports, such as mountaineering, handball, athletics, rhythmic gymnastics, swimming, chess and others, were not reviewed [5]. Detailed analytical remarks on these aspects of the work are of considerable interest, and they are being always brought to the notice of the sports community.



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Corresponding author: docent-07@mail.ru ; napr@sutd.ru