President of International Olympic Committee tours sport venues in Almaty
The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach has visited a number of sport facilities in Almaty as a part of his visit to Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports citing the press service of the city administration.
Thomas Bach arrived in Kazakhstan on an invitation of Kazakhstan's National Olympic Committee (NOC). Almaty city was the final destination of his tour of the region that included visits to Armenia and Georgia.
During his visit, IOC President met with the President of Kazakhstan's NOC Temirkhan Dosmukhambetov, Kazakhstan's Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Muhamediuly as well as Almaty Akim (Mayor) Akhmetzhan Yessimov.
Since Kazakhstan's Almaty is bidding to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games he also toured a number of the city's sports facilities, including the famous Medeu high-mountain skating rink, Sunkar International Ski Jumping Complex, biathlon/cross-country skiing complex and Shymbulak mountain skiing resort.
During his meeting with Thomas Bach Akmetzhan Yessimov, Akim (Mayor) of Almaty city said that Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev was paying a lot of attention to development of sports and promotion of healthy lifestyle in Kazakhstan. And that Almaty city was the indisputable leader in these two areas not only in Kazakhstan, but in an entire Central Asian region. In the city of 1.5 million people one quarter of the residents do sports on a regular basis.
“Almaty has the most developed sports infrastructure, which includes 1,077 sport facilities and 14 of them fully comply with the modern international standards. Two ice arenas with rinks and a multifunctional Olympic village capable of accommodating 5,000 people will be constructed for the Winter Universiade in 2017 in Almaty,” Akhmetzhan Yessimov said.
Almaty city hosts most of the international sport events that take place in Kazakhstan. This includes World Boxing Championship, Sambo World Cup stage, Judo Grand Prix, Ski Jumping Grand Prix, Water Polo World Cup, Futsal World Cup, as well as an international one-day cycling race Tour of Almaty.
“The Asian Winter Games in 2011 was a very important experience, which now helps us prepare for the Winter Universiade in 2017. This includes work on security and logistics, management of sport facilities and training programs for the staff,” Akhmetzhan Yessimov said.
Almaty is expected to host a number of sport events in this coming sport season as well. The city is preparing to hold the World Weightlifting Championship, World Cup Speed Skating, Speedway World Cup, World Judo Championship, World Equestrian Games, as well as FIS (International Ski Federation) Alpine World Ski Championship and FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championship.
Apart from development of sports in the city, these sport events also contribute to the development of tourism in Almaty as they attract a huge number of sport fans from all over the world. For example, in the last year and a half, 550 thousand tourists visited Almaty and tourism-related services rendered in 2013 exceeded 121 billion tenge ($666 million), Akhmetzhan Yessimov said.
Kazakhstan's Almaty was tagged the outsider in the race by the IOC work group, but it now is the only official candidate to host the 2022 Winder Olympic Games besides Chinese Beijing. Norwegian Oslo, Ukrainian Lviv, Swiss Stockholm, Polish Krakow have all withdrawn from the bidding process: most of them cited financial reasons.
The city that will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games will be announced next summer in Malaysia.
Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina