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Krasnodar fast becoming Russia’s sporting capital

Over the past few years the Black Sea region of Krasnodar has emerged as one of Russia's top sporting destinations. RT tried to find out why.

It may look like a lot of concrete and wiring now, however, Krasnodar will soon be able to boast one of the biggest sporting complex's in Europe. This will, of course, be a massive boost for Russia's Olympic athletes.

The design looks fantastic, and it will include training facilities for 20 different sports – a new 50 thousand seat football stadium, an Olympic sized swimming pool, and a new rowing club amongst other things.

“When Sochi won the right to host the 2014 Olympics, a decision was made to construct two different sports complex's in the Krasnodar region. Those concerning winter sports will obviously be built in Sochi, while those competing at the summer games will train in Krasnodar. I think this can only be good for the development of sport, not only in our city, but also in Russia,” says the region’s Sports Minister Lyudmila Chernova.

While Krasnodar has big plans for the future, the current sports facilities the city has to offer aren't shabby either. A rowing stadium was opened just last year even though a new club is to be opened at the city's sports complex in a couple of years.

Rowing has been popular in the city for decades, but other sports are beginning to gain a foot-hold as well. New arenas are popping up around the city. The new basketball team, Lokomotiv Krasnodar is already becoming competitive in the VTB League, which unites the best teams from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Kazakhstan and a number of Eastern European countries, while recently an ice-hockey stadium opened up.

However, it is football that has always been top dog in Krasnodar being the only city in Russia, except for Moscow, to have two teams in the Premier League.

Fans from the city can watch any sporting event, something that's really impressed Lokomotiv Krasnodar's basketball coach, Evgeny Pashutin.

Krasnodar enjoys the status of one of the warmest cities in Russia. While much of the country is under a blanket of snow during the winter this city in the South of Russia has a relatively mild climate, which makes it ideal for hosting sports events and training camps.

“A lot of the Olympic federations within Russia come here regularly. The main advantage is that they can train outdoors all year round, and breathe fresh air, without having to retreat into gyms or indoor complexes as is the case in other Russian cities, where the temperature is much colder,” notes Lyudmila Chernova.

Building stadiums and sports complexes doesn't come cheap, however, the City of Krasnodar and the region are lucky that they are receiving a lot of state funding.

The sums may be large, but these training facilities will be used by hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, and this legacy will ensure that the future of sport in both Krasnodar and Russia remains bright.