In September 2019, Mr. Babushkin was elected the Astrakhan Region Governor. This region is one of the handball centers in Russia. Itis represented by the men’s Dynamo and the women’s Astrakhanochka in the Parimatch Super League. The local arena regularly hosts matches of the national teams. The Russian women’s team won a ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Astrakhan, and then this team became the gold Olympic champion. Of course, Sergey Shishkarev and Igor Babushkin remembered that qualification tournament. The President of the Handball Federation of Russia (the HFR) presented the book "Gold wrought by hand", a ball with autographs of the Russian women’s national team athletes of the 2019 World Championship and a personalized T-shirt to the Astrakhan Region Governor.

“We discussed the work of the professional clubs, the sports schools and the projects for the popularization of handball. For example, the program “Handball to school” is developing very well in the Astrakhan Region, - said Sergey Shishkarev. - I am sure that we will be able to achieve even greater success with the support of the local authorities.”

“Handball is rightfully popular in the Astrakhan Region. This is a beautiful game that attracts fans to the stands and children to the sports classes. We will continue to support our clubs and sports schools together with the HFR, - said Igor Babushkin. - And, of course, Astrakhan will always be glad to host the national team”.

Source: the HFR dated 22.07.2020