People of Kazan are very fond of sports. The popularity of sports is proved by the presence of several huge sports establishments in Kazan such as the newly reconstructed Palace of Sports, sport-complex UNICS, several stadiums and swimming pools. The Palace of Basketball, so called 'Basket Hall', is being constructed at the moment; the new stadium has been recently built in Derbyshky (a district of Kazan).
The most popular and thus developed types of sports are hockey and basketball. The hockey team 'Ak Bars' is the national pride of Tatarstan. During almost 50 years of its existence it has achieved good results; among the latest there are the title of the Champion of Russia in 1998, Bronze winner of Continental Cup in 1999, Silver winner of the Championship of Russia in 2000 and 2002. The alumnuses of 'Ak Bars' play in different hockey teams of Russia, the countries of the CIS and America (Denis Arkhipov plays in the NHL). There are many fans of the team in the Republic. When there are some important matches, all the tickets are rapidly sold out, and it is almost impossible to get one.
Another Tatarstan favourite is the basketball team 'UNICS'. Since 1997 the team has been in the Super League and in 2000 it became the Bronze winner of the Championship of Russia. The team has also participated in European championships and achieved good results. Basketball games played in the sport-complex UNICS are very popular among young people of Kazan. It is one of the city entertainments, which is as popular as going to nightclubs or cinema.
Also the republic can be rightfully proud of Alisa Gallyumova - vice-World Champion in chess.
It is important to mention here that sports in the republic are supported by the Government. There are new sport-complexes constructed and opened, the old ones are reconstructed, a lot of sport events like championships, competitions on different types of sports are held in the republic, also the republican Government provides sports with financial support.
Except sportsmen who are seriously engaged in sports, there are a great number of sports amateurs, who participate in different amateurs teams to keep shape, health and good spirit. A lot of people (especially women) are kin on different kinds of fitness from bodybuilding to dancing. A great number of fitness clubs, recently opened in Kazan and in the cities of Tatarstan, proves the popularity of fitness and healthy way of life.
As Tatarstan is a national Republic, there is an interesting national kind of sport called 'quryash' - wrestling with towels. It is also very popular among people, especially in the countryside. Competitions on 'quryash' are held in summer on the days of Sabantuy, and the traditional prize given to the winner is a ram and embroidered towels.
We cannot but mention the young sportsmen brought up and trained in Tatarstan, who has achieved considerable results in different types of sport. Now they play all over the world.
To crown it all, sport is supported and developed in the Republic, and there is wide range of opportunities to engage oneself into almost any of sport activities.