Astana today is not only the political centre of the country, but also the sports centre of Kazakhstan. The republic, which in a very short historical period made big strides in all areas and set an ambitious goal to join the top thirty most developed nations, has many brands that are famous worldwide. But perhaps the most important of them is our young, beautiful capital.
Astana hosts major summits and forums to solve the most urgent issues of the global economy and politics. And in recent years the young capital has become recognisable as a large sports centre and a venue of continental tournaments and world championships.
According to sociological studies, one in every four residents of Astana is engaged in physical culture and sports. Sports, such as swimming, boxing, wrestling, football, fitness, athletics and cycling, are especially popular in the capital.
For the last five years the number of individuals regularly engaged in physical exercise and sport in Astana has increased more than two times and now is about 168,230 people.
Unique sports facilities constructed in the capital and an increasing number of national and international competitions confirm the fact that the main city of the republic has become a centre of sports development.
With increasing frequency, representatives of the world sports organisations and federations hold their tournaments in Astana, thereby demonstrating high trust in the country and the city. The capital easily copes with the role of good host of such high-level tournaments as the World Cup stages, licensing competitions and continental and world championships.
Thus, in 2013, a total of 515 sport events were held in Astana, including 102 national tournaments and 37 world-class competitions, and 306 specialised sport events were already held in the first half of 2014.
Contrary to general opinion, in this case the number does not affect the quality. The capital was one of the first cities in the country to raise its own staff of sports organisers. Today, the Capital club of national sports and mass physical culture is a team of professional managers who are engaged in practically each sport event. Zhiger, created under the municipal administration sport club, helps to organise sports activities for labous collectives of the city.
Actually a good material and technical base is one of the components of victories in elite sports and a necessary condition to increase the number of people involved in amateur sports. The head of state repeatedly touched on the issue of sports development, including the availability of sports facilities for children and adults. The Alau ice palace, Barys indoor ice rink, Sary-Arka cycle track and Astana-Arena stadium not only complement the architectural ensemble of the young capital, but also present it in a favourable light in the international sports arena.
The number of sports facilities over the past 16 years grew from 76 to 600. Last year alone, 37 public playgrounds in courtyards and school yards were built and more than 100 sports grounds were reconstructed through the account of regional budgets.
In addition, six new facilities in the city are under construction — a universal, multifunctional complex for training Olympic reserve; Kaisar, a sports complex for people with disabilities; a sports complex and a small rowing channel which meet all Olympic international standards; a hockey arena as well as a gym for combat sports. All these sports objects are intended to provide a foundation for future big victories of Kazakhstan athletes.
The capital is one of the regular suppliers of champion reserve and a favourite one among complex competitions of the republic. For example, a young team of the capital took the second place at the third Youth Games of Kazakhstan.
Insixteen years much has been done for the development of sports thanks to the initiative of the head of state and today we can demonstrate our success. The heritage of the Asian Games, support of sports and physical culture, attention to Kazakhstan athletes – all this played a decisive role in our sports history. Sixteen years ago we set the goal to involve more people in sport and physical culture and to achieve high results in the international sport arena.
The author is head of the department of tourism and sports of Astana.