The BRICS Games is an international sporting event that brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
While the economic and political co-operation between the BRICS countries focuses on the business sphere, the BRICS Games seeks to showcase the unity and co-operation that these countries display in sport.
History of the BRICS Games
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the 2014 BRICS Summit held in Fortaleza, called for the development of mechanisms to strengthen co-operation and competition in sports in the BRICS countries. Following his initiative, in 2015, at the Ufa Summit, he announced India's intention to convene the first BRICS Games in 2016 under the Indian Chairmanship.
The country organised the First BRICS Football Tournament for youngsters under 17 years of age. It was held in Goa from 5 to 15 October 2016. The trophy then went to India, who won the final game against South Africa 1-0.
The BRICS Games II was held in Guangzhou, China from 17 to 21 June 2017. BRICS teams competed in volleyball, wushu and taolu. A 20-member Indian delegation performed yoga at the opening ceremony of the Second BRICS Games.
South Africa organised the Third BRICS Games from 17 to 22 July 2018 in Johannesburg, which included men's and women's volleyball and women's football. In 2018, BRICS leaders recommended the expansion of the BRICS Sports Games programme.
Due to COVID-19, the countries were forced to suspend the Games, but sports co-operation continued. The BRICS Sports Ministers at a meeting on 25 August 2020 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on "Cooperation in Physical Education and Sports" to strengthen sports partnership in BRICS countries.
In 2022, China has decided to hold the fourth BRICS Games online. Athletes from the bloc's countries competed for medals in three disciplines: breakdancing, chess and wushu. In addition, the games included competitions in such disciplines as yoga, Chinese lion and dragon dance, dragon boat racing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and sambo.
The BRICS Games in 2023 has expanded the list of sports
On the recommendation of the BRICS leaders, South Africa adopted an expanded BRICS Games championship programme that not only featured more sports, but also the most inclusive games, with Paralympians participating for the first time at the BRICS Games. As a result, medals were awarded in South Africa in the following disciplines:
– badminton (under 21 years of age);
– table tennis, including Paralympic table tennis (not older than 19);
– beach volleyball (not older than 21 years);
– swimming (not older than 20 years);
– tennis, including Paralympic tennis (not older than 21 years of age).
South Africa's Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, emphasised the importance of sport and its role in uniting different nations:
"Sport epitomises the human will and desire to overcome all challenges. It unites people, communities and countries."
The Russian team won 59 medals at the 5th BRICS Games: 35 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze. The Chinese team came second with 55 medals, while South Africa came third with 51 medals.
Where will the next BRICS Games be held?
Next year will be marked by a historic event when the BRICS Games will be held in Russia for the first time. Kazan will host the competitions. Along with the usual Olympic sports, medals are expected to be awarded in 25 different events. As an experiment, the organisers suggested that each participating country add one national event. As a result, the BRICS Games will feature such sports as capoeira from Brazil, belt wrestling (popular in Tatarstan) from Russia, kabaddi from India, go from China and juxei from South Africa. It was decided to organise an open competition where about 50 countries are expected to participate.
Today, sports diplomacy is a special form of diplomatic activity, in which sport is used as an auxiliary or independent political tool to solve certain foreign policy tasks. Sport allows not only to compete for the title of champion, but also promotes cultural exchange and the development of an inclusive society.