The Combat and Strength Sports Confederation will celebrate its second anniversary on Nov. 20. In such a short period, the confederation has achieved considerable success, becoming one of the most recognisable sports organisations, not only in the country but also far beyond its borders.
Timur Kulibayev, chairman of the Kazakh Combat and Strength Sports Confederation , gave an interview on the early stages of its formation and its potential.
For what purpose was the Combat and Strength Sports Confederation established?
I must say that this was not just some new spirit of the times but above all a real need to combine into one family such sports as boxing, weightlifting, judo, wrestling and taekwondo. The aforementioned sports have Olympic status, they have a special capacity – they are highly rated on the world stage. They can bring a large number of medals.
This is an opportunity to declare Kazakhstan at the highest level, to make our country more recognisable, including through victories. A striking example is the 17th Summer Asian Games recently held in South Korea, in which athletes of our confederation won a total of 32 medals.
Our mission is to create conditions for the athletes that they regularly show the results in the biggest competitions and thereby contribute to the strengthening of the authority in the world community.
If success in boxing can be called quite natural – we all remember the triumphant performances of boxers at the Asian Championship, the World Cup 2013 and the recent Summer Games in Incheon – how are things in other sports that are now included in the confederation?
The success of boxers, of course, makes us proud. Six gold, two silver and two bronze medals were the best results in the history of our Asian Games. This was made possible thanks to the work of the coaches and the technical and tactical skills of our young men and women, who defended the honour of Kazakhstan.
We are also happy with the success of our athletes in other types of sports. Our compatriots won the first gold in judo in the major continental European Games. They also won two silver and three bronze medals.
A Kazakhstan team in classic wrestling (Greco-Roman, freestyle and women’s wrestling) got 10 medals, the weightlifters got four medals and the representatives of taekwondo won four medals.
Stable success is impossible without good conditions, so we first had to make certain that our national teams were provided with medical support, the required licensed athletic equipment and uniform outfits, were trained and conducted training camps in Kazakhstan and beyond where the best conditions were created.
Skilled management is needed for the development of high performance sports. The confederation was created with the intention to focus on the successful practice for the development of other federations.
The confederation pays great attention to the material and technical base of the sport. Along with this great event was the opening of the World Academy of Boxing in Kazakhstan. Is it a credible example of international institutions?
Of course! The AIBA World Academy of Boxing, which already operates in the Almaty region, is the first scientific training complex of its kind. This is a unique structure, which has excellent conditions for mastering skills not only for athletes, but also coaches, referees and technical staff. Athletes from different parts of the world can train here.
I would especially like to emphasise that the pledge of future victories lies in the mass nature of sports; this explains our attention to the regions. This year alone, the universal sports and recreation complexes of the sport confederation were built and now operate in Turkestan and Semey.
We also signed memoranda of cooperation and development of mass sports and high performance sports with akimats (government administrations) of many regions.
In addition to domestic championships under the auspices of the confederation, many high-status world events are being held. How did you achieve this?
Holding international-scale competitions in Kazakhstan is another overriding direction for us. We think that the confederation’s activity is not only for the benefit of strength sports, but also contributes to the implementation of the state policy in the sphere of physical culture and sports.
The confederation operates in close cooperation with the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Sports. In 2013, Kazakhstan had the honour and great responsibility to host the first world boxing championship.
A new record was set for the number of participants – 576 athletes from 116 countries. In addition to a high level of organisation, the results of local boxers were brilliant.
The first major start this year was the Asian Wrestling Championship. Astana gathered the strongest fighters of the continent and our guys did not disappoint. They won 14 medals.
Next year, we are preparing to hold a licensed world championship in judo. It was decided to hold the World Grand Prix this year in Astana, which was a kind of test before the world championship.
Our country will host the world championship in weightlifting on Nov. 8-16, where the best athletes of the world will meet. This world championship will be licensed, that means they will compete for bids to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The competition will be shown on the KAZsport Channel; which other countries will broadcast the event?
The upcoming event will be broadcast in such countries as China, Brazil, Iran, Latvia, Poland and [heavily broadcast] on Eurosport.
What are the objectives of the confederation for the near future?
Development of training, coaching and teaching staff, including the Bolashak programme, which is another ambitious task. Last year, a tripartite memorandum of cooperation with the Kazakhstan Agency of Sport and Physical Culture [now the Ministry of Culture and Sports] and Centre for International Programmes was signed.
Thus, local young professionals had the opportunity to study abroad. A striking example is Serik Sapiyev, who is undergoing training in sports management at Brunel University in London under a Bolashak international scholarship.
2014 was declared the “Year of the Coach” in the confederation. Since the beginning of the year, regular seminars and training courses have been held for coaches in five sports.
One of the issues of interest to both fans and local experts is inviting foreign coaches and consultants. What is your attitude toward this trend. Should we hire only local staff or should international experience not be ignored?
As you know, famous Olympic weightlifting coach Enver Turkeleri works as a consultant with the national team of Kazakhstan. Since his arrival, our weightlifters have shown stable results.
Experienced professionals are also attracted in other sports, such as judo and freestyle wrestling.
One of the specific areas of the confederation is to establish international contacts. What is being done in this regard?
We are in close contact with representatives of international sports organisations and federations. In the future, we expect that Kazakhstan will be widely represented in international organisations.
Recently, the first and only Olympic medalist in taekwondo Arman Chilmanov, who now holds the position of director of sport of the Kazakhstan Taekwondo Federation (KTF) and the state coach, became the first Kazakh-elected member of the Executive Committee of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF.)
Champions and prize winners, in addition to the state, are stimulated by the confederation for their victories. Is this a deliberate policy or a one-time event?
We pay special attention to the social support of athletes and coaches. For the first time our athletes are provided with health insurance for the entire year. A special bonus system was developed and not only athletes are rewarded, but also their personal mentors, coaches and experts of complex scientific groups of the national teams.
Young Kazakh athletes follow their elders and also show excellent results.
Speaking about participation of Kazakh youth in the sport, I want to note that we remember the strategic goals set by leader of the nation, our President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Is special attention now being paid to the upcoming games in Brazil?
Indeed, two years are left before the start of the event. During this time, the Combat and Strength Sports Confederation will make every effort to ensure that our athletes are prepared for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
We have strong and fearless athletes, ready to fight and win for native Kazakhstan. It was so at the latest Asian Games, so it is safe to say that with such athletes we can achieve the highest goals at the Olympics in South America!