It is understood that physical training in the schools is confined to the ABC of sports. But if a child wants to go in for some special sport does he have an opportunity to do so?

Grigori Reznichenko ::: Young people in the USSR. Answers to questions

The boy or girl who wants to go in for sports, to compete with their counterparts from other towns, can join one of the numerous junior sports schools. To do this they must enjoy good health and have good marks at school. Sports schools are run by local school boards and by big sports clubs. Tuition is free. There are 5,956 junior sports schools in the counti у attended by about two million boys and

girls between the ages of 9 and 18. Seven hundred and fifty of these schools specialize in one field (gymnastics, track-and-field, etc.). Some of our best coaches work with the children. For instance, the school for young boxers in Yerevan is run by the 1956 Olympic champion Vladimir Yengibaryan and enjoys well-deserved fame in the country.

Twice a year nationwide sports contests are held for schoolchildren. We call them "spartakiads". They begin in the schools, then go on to the district, city, regional, and republican level, and then—the national finals. The winners earn the title of cham­pion among schoolchildren and gold medals. Quite a number of famous athletes made their way to the top through the schools' spartakiads; they include Igor Ter-Ovanesyan, Tamara Press and Nelly Kim.

Other contests popular with schoolchildren are the footballers' "Leather Ball", the ice-hockey play­ers' "Golden Puck'', "Silver Skates" for speed-skat- ers and "The Happy Dolphin" for swimmers. Any team formed by youngsters at the place where they live can take part. And about 15 million school­children do so each year.

Starting from 1976 another national contest has been introduced. The contestants are entire classes (from the 4th to the 10th) of different schools. In 1977 14 million schoolchildren were involved in this contest. The 130 best classes-3,600 boys and girls- took part in the finals staged at the famous child­ren's resort Artek in the Crimea.

A number of Soviet schoolchildren have done so well in their field of sports that they have won not only national titles, but also world and Olympic titles, as did swimmer Marina Koshevaya and gym­nast Masha Filatova who took part in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.