ASTANA, Nov. 11 – Kazakhstan’s Youth Paralympic team won 39 medals at the Asian Youth Para Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which took place from Oct. 26-30.
Kazakhstan’s team was ranked ninth out of the 32 participating countries. The team’s best results were in swimming, where it took second place in the team standings with eight gold, eight silver and four bronze medals. Swimming gold medalists were Dmitry Lee (400-metre freestyle, 100 freestyle), Ruslan Utebaliyev (100 freestyle, 100 backstroke), Andrey Afanasyev (100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke), Kirill Kuznetsov (100 breaststroke) and Bekzhan Yesirkepov (100 freestyle).
The team also dominated in track and field, where it took two gold, five silver and three bronze medals. Rufat Khabibullin and Elaman Zholaman brought home the team’s two gold medals in track and field.
Other gold medalists among the 38-member team included Bolat Zhanymkhan of Almaty, who took home the gold for chess, and Yegor Bolinger, who won gold in powerlifting. The games were opened by Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin at Putra Stadium.
“It is my hope that the masses will have a better understanding of para sports and the Paralympic philosophy,” said Jamaluddin. “Winning is important and I know that’s what athletes like you have trained very hard for. Everyone wants to win a gold medal. However, for all of you to be here, competing against some of the best in Asia, tells me that all of you are winners. Continue striving for excellence in both sports and life.”
The Asian Youth Para Games is a multi-sport event for athletes from the ages of 15 to 19 who have a disability. Young athletes competed in 14 different sports, including archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, chess, goalball, judo, powerlifting, swimming, table tennis, tenpin bowling, sitting volleyball, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball. The games covered multiple disability categories, including physical disabilities (wheelchair and amputees), visual impairment and intellectual disabilities.
The games in Malaysia attracted over 2,500 athletes and officials from 32 countries. This year’s event was the third Asian Youth Para Games. International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven, Paralympic Council of Malaysia Patron Tun Jeanne Abdullah and Asian Paralympic Committee President Dato’ Zainal Abu Zarin as well as other prominent figures in the Paralympic Games attended the opening ceremony.