Kazakh Teams Play in Winter Special Olympics

ASTANA – Seven teams from across Kazakhstan took part in the World Special Olympics Winter Games, held from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.

Kazakhstan’s national team has participated in the Special Olympics12 times and has won550 medals.

This year, Kazakhstan was represented by 45 athletes from all five regions of the country.

Athletes from Astana and Almaty participated in alpine skiing, cross country skiing, speed skating, figure skating and the new Olympic sport of running on snowshoes.

Kazakh athletes won 28 medals in the 2013 Winter Games including 13 gold medals, seven silvers and eight bronze. Most of the medals were won by the alpine skiing team who took home five gold and two silvers. In speed skating, the team won three gold medals, a silver medal and two bronze medals.

Special Olympics branches operate in all regions of Kazakhstan. Almost 17,000 people participate in training and competitions for Olympic sports.

Held over eight days, the Special Games united the world in South Korea. Thousands of volunteers, families, friends and sponsors watched and supported the athletes.

The Special Olympics movement seeks to change lives around the world through the power of sport. It empowers people with physical disabilities, promotes acceptance for all and fosters communities of understanding and respect in every country.

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of OO “Special Olympics in Kazakhstan”, deputy of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan Zagipa Baliyeva supported the national team in Pyeongchang.

“All students from Kazakhstan, who are studying in Seoul, came to Pyeongchang to support our team. And our team was probably the only one who had that great support.. Our athletes showed a great performance and several times our flag was raised skyward,”Zagipa Baliyeva said.

In his turn, athlete of the national team Evgeny Rudnitsky commented “I have been participating in sledge sport for 3 years already and I’m not going to stop trainings in the near future.”

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