The Russian flag is currently banned at most international events, but is being flown at the Russian-Chinese Youth Summer Games in Chongqing ©Getty Images

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has claimed that the Russian-Chinese Youth Summer Games which have opened this week in Chongqing will help strengthen ties between the two nations.

Russia has sent a team of 158 competitors to Chongqing for the Games which feature badminton, basketball, football, rhythmic gymnastics, handball, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.

They will supported by a coaching and support staff of over 50 for the event in China's fourth largest city and which is due to conclude on Saturday (May 27). 

"We are willing to participate, support and initiate joint events, since it is important for Russians to compete with the best on the world stage," Matytsin told Russia's official state news agency Tass.

"Sports should always carry out a creative mission and unite peoples and countries.

"It is gratifying that our Chinese friends are looking in the same direction as us.

"I am sure that the Russian-Chinese Youth Summer Games will become the next stage in expanding bilateral ties between our countries, will be remembered for exciting competitions, athletes will show high results and I believe that these Games will be held under the banner of friendship, sport and cooperation."

Matytsin is scheduled to meet Gao Zhidan, who leads China's State Administration for Physical Culture and Sports, to sign what is described as a "Memorandum of Friendship."

"Our Chinese partners have proven themselves to be excellent organisers, our team is always welcomed here with warmth and in a friendly atmosphere, such a responsible approach helps our delegation to feel comfortable," he said.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been enthusiastic about closer ties through sport ©Getty Images
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been enthusiastic about closer ties through sport ©Getty Images

Matytsin is also expected to hold talks with Chongqing Mayor Hu Henghua.

The concept of the Games was established after meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping last year.

The first Winter Russian-Chinese Youth Games of the series were held in Changchun, China last December,

Russia's Deputy Sports Minister Alexei Morozov has confirmed that the Eastern city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk has been named as host for the 2024 Winter Russian-Chinese Youth Games. 

"The Youth Games have become a tradition already and are sparking the interest of federations, athletes and spectators," Morozov said.

"We confirm our readiness, the sports facilities of Sakhalinsk city are able to host high-level competitions," 

The programme is expected to feature alpine cross-country and freestyle skiing, curling, figure skating, Nordic combined , short track, snowboarding, ski jumping and ski mountaineering.

An announcement on the venue for the 2025 Summer Youth Games, also due to be hosted by Russia, is expected later.