Volgograd and Cologne: and the winner is… friendship!
Just a few days ago, the city of Cologne (Volgograd’s partner-town in the Western Germany) hosted yet another edition of the RheinEnergie Marathon tracing along the most beautiful city sights and finishing in front of the world-famous Gothic cathedral. As by tradition, several Volgograd athletes found their way into the list of its participants.
The one to assemble this dream team of amateur sportsmen was Dmitry Chirkov – the organizer of the “Victory” Volgograd International Marathon. Four free starting slots were provided by the City of Cologne, and the organizational matters of the visit and its rich cultural program were undertaken by the “Cologne - Volgograd” Friendship Society. Its member Ms. Ilona Mikalauskaite managed even to organize a meeting at the Russian General Consulate in the nearby city of Bonn!
“This was the chance not that many people had ever got. Not only did the Consulate’s officers take us on the tour of the venue – which used to be the HQ of the USSR Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany, by the way, – but also offered their support for future international projects. That's what we will surely need soon: I believe that after this year there will be a lot of people willing to come to Volgograd. Our group was drawing a lot of attention!” says Dmitry.
In 2019, Volgograd participants were not only aiming for personal records, but also joined the relay race with two mixed Russian-German teams, composed of the social activists from Cologne and Volgograd.
“Our teams’ results were practically identical. That’s what people mean by saying “the only winner is our friendship”, emphasized the leader of the Volgograd team.
Together with the race participants from Cologne’s other friendship cities (Bethlehem, Cluj-Napoca, Cork, Esch-zur-Alzette, Istanbul, Kattowitz, Kyoto and Lüttich), Volgograd athletes attended the evening reception held in the City Hall on behalf of the Deputy Mayor Andreas Wolter.
The final event of the friendly visit was as energetic as the rest of it, due to the many kilometers’ long cycling trip.
In 2020, Volgograd will be welcoming sport lovers in its own territory: the “Victory” Marathon is scheduled for the end of April.