ALMATY REGION – The closing ceremony of the 14th Ili-Balkhash Regatta, a competition of extreme multi-day rafting, was held recently at Kapshagai recreation base fishing village.
Tired but satisfied rowers were met on the coast of Kapshagai Lake by Mels Yeleussizov, the captain of the regatta and head of the Tabigat Ecological Union, representatives of the Tourism Industry Committee of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Almaty Regional Administration.
As Yeleussizov noted, the main goal of the water rally was to draw public attention to the environmental problems of the region. Of particular concern was the shallowing of Lake Balkhash and polluting of the River Ili, causing the death of fish and considerable damage to local flora and fauna. The issue of preservation of the unique lake, according to the environmentalist, should be raised at the world level.
The water super marathon was divided into several stages: sprint races, rafting on the reed delta of the river and the competition of sailboats. The famous rock Finger Stone, ancient crossing of Genghis Khan in Kapshagay Gorge and giant Singing Dunes in the Altyn-Emel National Park made an indelible impression on the participants of the regatta.
In just a month, rowers on rafts, kayaks, inflatable boats and catamarans navigated more than 800 kilometres. Throughout the route, experts from Kazhydromet on one of the teams conducted clearance of the river’s banks and monitored the Ili River and Lake Balkhash.
In addition to Kazakh enthusiasts and lovers of water and extreme tourism, representatives from Belarus, Hungary, Russia and the Czech Republic took part in the regatta, confirming the growing popularity of sport-tourist competition. Moreover, the Hungarian team was led by Ferenc Blaumann, consul general of that country in Almaty, and the highest number of awards was won by students of St. Petersburg University of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.
As part of the regatta, a number of activities were held in the picturesque gorge Tamgaly Tas, including an international festival of ecotourism, tourist tournaments, competitions on togyzkumalak, Kazakh kuresi, mini football and beach volleyball. The guests watched national games and the competition of climbers, gliders and bikers, as well as a culinary dueling on cooking kebab and pilaf with great interest.
Regional craftsmen demonstrated folk crafts in the tent city near the scripture rocks. Directly in front of the guests, masters skillfully manufactured handicrafts and jewelry from wood, leather and wool. For three days, bard songs were performed on the main stage of the festival.
The completion of the aqua rally coincided with the Day of Neptune holiday and the opening of the summer swimming season on the Kapshagai water reservoir.