Russian deputies regain Parliamentary Games title
The Parliament Games were first held in 2009 and give politicians from all over Europe the chance to demonstrate their sporting skills. This year eight countries fielded their cream of the crop in five disciplines – tennis, table tennis, five-a-side football, badminton and chess.
Team Russia was spearheaded at the three-day event by the President of the Olympic committee Aleksandr Zhukov, who gave the home side a lead after checkmating his opponents and then captaining the football team in a gala match.
“These games have already become a tradition. I think that such informal communication with other deputies is very important. The friendly atmosphere made everyone feel comfortable and we could talk both business and pleasure,” Zhukov said.
Russia has hosted the event since its inception, easily won the inaugural games in 2009. However, Lithuania wrestled the cup away from Russia's grasp and went into the event as defending champions, meaning the hosts were eager to get their hands back on the silverware.
Several nations were able to call upon former professional athletes who have since moved in to politics. Luckily for the other competing nations boxing wasn't one of the disciplines as Russia could boast former heavyweight world champion Nikolay Valuev in their squad. The 39 year old chose table tennis but failed to land a knockout blow losing every single match.
Among others former tennis world number one Marat Safin swapped his racket for shin pads and took to the football pitch instead of the tennis court.
In the end, the Russians were victorious meaning the cup stays in Moscow until the next games. But winning is not everything at this event creates a new arena for relaxed and informal communication between European politicians.