Firstly, I should say I'm much obliged to destiny for having given me a chance to participate in the Friendship Games-2009. When my coach told me the team is invited to an international tournament I started preparing for a long flight, a range of several difficult games and a week of keeping a tight discipline..This is my routine preparation for any championships.
I couldn't even imagine that in fact we were invited not only to a tournament, but to a really great occasion which I definitely won't be able to forget for ages.
Basketball, communication, sea, sun and happiness – that's how I can describe in several words what happened in Eilat during those seven days.
Certainly, what made me personally feel myself on cloud nine was our victory. But I'm sure even if my team didn't win I'd spend one of the most interesting weeks in my life at the Friendship Games.
Everything impressed me from the very beginning. The organization was excellent.. Starting with the opening ceremony and during the whole week I felt myself like a part of something extremely great and important.
Lots of people even in the streets were asking us where we were from and became excited when we showed them a participant card of an international basketball tournament. It's impossible to forget the school children which came to games to support the Israeli teams and after one match one student came up to our bench and told us in her best Russian (though with a very strong accent): "Girls, thank you for the game. We liked how you played very much."
The excursion to Jerusalem was unforgettable. Never in my life I thought I'd get a chance to write down my own wish and put it into the Wailing Wall. I've also heard quite a bit about the Dead Sea, but I didn't believe that it's impossible to sink there. Thanks to the Friendship Games I got a chance to feel it on my own. It's really true, guys, it's impossible to sink in the Dead Sea!
Curiously enough, but another unforgettable moment was when we had a friendly meeting with school children. Only four girls from my team spoke English, others didn't. And at first we had to translate everything for our teammates. The aim of the meeting was similar to the aim of the Friendship Games as a whole – to let young people from different countries get together, get to know each other better and become more tolerant.
I was so surprised and so happy to see several girls from my team chatting with the Israeli children when officially the meeting was already over. I have no idea what they were speaking about and, what is the most interesting, in what language they spoke, but it was really like a true-to-life illustration to everything that was said at the tournament about our generation being able to improve the situation in the world and to make all the Earth inhabitants live in peace.
At the Friendship Games-2009 basketball definitely won over evil. Speaking in different languages, praying different gods, having different habits all the players from all the participant countries were brought all together and it was the most exciting thing ever. I really hope to take part in the Friendship Games next year. I thank everybody who started this initiative and wish there were more and more as kind and effective social projects as the Friendship Games in the world.