The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has set a task to sports organizers to engage 30% of the country’s population in sports. The state features numerous sports clubs where people do different kinds of sport; sport facilities are available for general public. Currently Kazakhstan holds the major international tournaments; Astana and Almaty participated in the VII Asian Winter Games 2011 with the participation of the teams from 27 countries.
Kazakhstan residents won 32 gold, 21 silver and 17 bronze medals and got the first team place, Japan took the second place, as Korea moved into the third place. In 2017 the country will host the XVIII Winter World Universiade.
Popular kinds of sport in Kazakhstan
Football is one of the most popular kinds of sport in Kazakhstan. "Kairat" from Almaty played in the Major League of the Soviet Union championship during Soviet times. Football Federation of Kazakhstan was accepted to the Asian zone (FIFA) and later in 2001 it moved to European zone (UEFA). Hockey is very popular in the country too. "Torpedo" team from Ust-Kamenogorsk, which became the main club of Kazakhstan for national team, shared the high places with the teams from Sweden, Belarus and USA in Nagano.
Thousands of children and adults are engaged in combat sport in Kazakhstan. The most popular kinds of combat sport in the country are kazakh wrestling (kazaksha kures), Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, kickboxing, taekwondo, hand-to-hand fighting, judo and karate. There are a lot of karate schools in the country, which promote different styles of this martial art, the masters from Japan conduct trainings in Kazakhstan, different seminars and master-classes are being held in the state. One of the priority kinds of sport is box and boxers proved it at Olympic Games not once.
The World Boxing Tournaments where "Astana Arlans" Kazakhstan team participates, feature thousands of fans in the large Sports Palaces. The "Astana" professional cycling team was created in 2006. The winners of "Tour de France" Alberto Contador, Andreas Kloeden and Levi Leipheimer took part in the most important tours. Weightlifting takes a special place in Kazakhstan; Anatoliy Khrapatyi was the first famous sportsman. Olympics medals of Ilya Ilyin, Svetlana Podobedova, Maya Maneza and Zulfiya Chinshanlo made this kind of sport more popular.
The "Sunkar" modern complex of International Ski jump board in Almaty provides the conducting of World Cup stages on ski jumping and biathlon which make the ski sports very popular. Kazakhstan is a mountain country, the part of its boundaries covers the mountain area, that’s why the state needs in high skilled climbers. The team of Kazakhstan on mountain climbing was the first who completed the climbing programme at all 14 world highest picks. Such climbers as Denis Urubko, Maksut Zhumayev and Vasiliy Pivcov are in the list of "Himalayan Crown" holders or climbers at 14 eight thousanders. Denis Urubko together with rope mates Sergey Samoilov and Boris Dedeshko became a three-time holder of "Asian Golden Ice Axe" and won "World Golden Ice Axe".
Motor racing has gained the affection of young people over the last years. Veterans of sport don’t leave it too. "Astana" team on rally raid participates in the most significant rallies of the planet, such as "Dakar" and "Africa Eco Race". So at the "Dakar 2011" the team of Artur Ardavichus on the rented Russian truck gained the 8th place and in 2012 he was the bronze medalist of "Dakar". Kazakhstan participated in the "Africa Eco Race" motor racing in 2013 for the first time ever where the team of Kanat Shagirov and Andrei Moroz was the first in the T2 category and the 7th in the overall standings of off roaders.
Kazakhstan at Olympic Games
As for the high performance sport, Kazakhstan as the sovereign state participates in Olympics since 1996. Previously Kazakhstan sportsmen were included in the USSR Olympic National Team and represented the Soviet Union. The delegation of USSR participated in Olympics for the first time in Helsinki in 1952, and an athlete from Kazakhstan Evgenyi Kadyaikin took part in the USSR Olympic National Team in 1956 in Melbourne. In the same year the downhill skier Aleksandra Artemenko participated at the VII Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo. The sprinter Gusman Kosanov won the silver medal at the Rome Games in the USSR National Team in the 4х100 relay competition. The downhill skier Vladimir Smirnov became the first Olympic champion of independent Kazakhstan in Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994.
Two years later athlete Alexandr Parygin had the highest result at XXV Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta, as well as wrestler of Greco-Roman style Yuri Melnichenko and boxer Vasily Zhirov who won the "Val Barker Cup" as the most technic boxer of Olympic Games. Athlete Olga Shishigina won the gold medal in the women's 100 meters steeplechase, a bicycle racer Alexandr Vinokurov won the silver medal, as the boxers Bolat Zhumadilov and Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov. Yermakhan Ibraimov and Bekzat Sattarkhanov won the gold medals, Olympic silver medalist was a wrestler Islam Bairamukov. Kazakhstan was figured out in the competitive sport by men’s and women’s teams on water polo; water polo players participated in the Games in Athens, where decathlete Dmitriy Karpov, boxer Serik Yeleuov, wrestler of Greco-Roman style Mkhitar Manukyan won the bronze medals. Freestyle wrestler Gennady Laliyev, wrestler of Greco-Roman style Georgy Tsurtsumiya, weightlifter Sergey Philimonov, boxer Gennady Golovkin became silver medalists. And boxer Bakhtiyar Artayev won the Olympics champion title.
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games, which took place in Beijing, witnessed the Bronze medalists from Kazakhstan, among them were wrestlers of Greco-Roman style Elena Shalygina, Nurbakhyt Tenizbayev and Aset Mambetov, freestyle wrestler Marid Mutalimov, weightlifter Mariya Grabovetskaya, boxer Erkebulan Shynaliyev, taekwondo wrestler Arman Chilmanov. Silver medals were awarded to judo man Askhat Zhitkeev, weightlifters Irina Nekrasova and Alla Vazhenina, as well as freestyle wrestler Taimuraz Tigiyev. Weightlifter Ilya Ilyin and boxer Bakhyt Sarsekbayev became Olympic champions.
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games figured out biathlete Elena Khrustaleva as the winner of Silver medal. The main event for domestic sport in 2012 was the XXX Olympic Games in London. Our nationals won a record number of Gold medals – 7 awards of the highest value! Moreover, athletes from Kazakhstan won 1 Silver and 5 Bronze medals, which provided Kazakhstan National team the 12th place in the overall ranking of Olympic Games.
Kazakhstan won the gold medal at the first day of Olympic Games: Alexandr Vinokurov became the winner of the group road cycling. Zulfiya Chinshanlo added gold to a country’s collection. Winning pace of our country continued. Maya Maneza followed the great beginning of Vinokurov and Chinshanlo.
The fourth gold medal was awarded to Svetlana Podobedova. "Golden man" of Kazakh weightlifting Ilya Ilyin put a concluding chord to the brilliant performance of our weightlifters at London stage. An athlete Olga Rypakova brought the sixth award of the highest value (step and jump). Boxer Serik Sapiyev won the seventh gold medal and "Val Barker Cup".
The silver medal of Olympic Games was awarded to boxer Adilbek Niyazymbetov. And boxers Ivan Dychko, Marina Volnova, wrestlers Akzhurek Tanatarov, Danial Gadzhiev, Guzel Manyurova became the bronze medalists. After the final of Olympic Games in London, the head of state Nursultan Nazarbayev received Olympic winners at the ceremony, dedicated to the famous sports achievements of Kazakhstan. The sportsmen of our country go on marks with Olympic motto: "Go, Kazakhstan!"