Creating an Image of the Country through Sports

In recent decades, Kazakhstan has become a rightful member of economic society. Moreover, our country is always advancing its leadership in all directions: political, economic and other fields. The sport field is not an exception.

photo_61531Everyone knows that Kazakhstan is a country that is dynamically developing in all directions, while at the same time maintaining unity and agreement in society. Achievements allow us to go ahead confidently and consequently address issues on Kazakhstan’s joining the 30 most-developed countries in the world.

It is possible to say that sport is an area where we have already achieved that level. Our team’s places in the biggest international sports events, namely the Olympics and Asian games, and regional and international championships, have proven it.

We should highlight a surge of interest caused by the Asian Games in South Korea, Alem Barysy, the first international wrestling tournament in Pavlodar, and the world championship in weightlifting, which was recently held in Almaty. Thanks to the victories of Kazakh athletes in the international arena, today interest in the sport has sharply increased, above all, among young people.

We should emphasise forming a positive image of our country as a world sports power, the result of hosting major international competitions and organising broadcasts to other countries.

Only two years remain before the start of the Universiade [in Almaty]. More than 3,000 athletes and officials from 58 countries are expected to visit our country. The analysis shows that year after year the number of participating countries and athletes increases, while athletic performance improves.

During the years of independence, Kazakhstan’s student winter sports team took part in 11 Universiades and received 33 awards: 13 of them are gold, seven are silver and 13 are bronze.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev personally initiated the nomination of Almaty to host the Winter Olympic Games and today Kazakhstan is closer than ever to becoming its organiser. Beijing is a very serious competitor, but our chances are high. The benefits of Kazakhstan’s bid include stable economic development, favourable geographic location (Eurasian zone), suitable climatic conditions and availability of winter sports facilities, which were built for the Asian Games 2011 and are being built for the Universiade 2017.

The analysis conducted by Doctor of Economics Professor Rustem Nureyev on modern Olympic Games shows that such comprehensive global competition should be seen as a commercial and investment project. In the history of the modern Olympic Games, three models of management and financing were identified.

The first model of public administration and finance presumes that the proportion of state involvement is more than 67 percent. Such countries as the Soviet Union (Moscow, 1980 – 97 percent), Canada (Montreal, 1976 – 95 percent) and China (Beijing, 2008 – 84 percent) used this model of financing.

The second is a mixed model, where the share of state participation ranges from 33 to 67 percent. South Korea (Seoul, 1988 – 46 percent) and Spain (Barcelona, 1992 – 38 percent) hosted games in accordance with this model.

The third is a model of private management and financing, where the share of state participation is less than 33 percent. Australia (Sydney, 2000 – 30 percent) and the United States (Atlanta, 1996 – 15 percent, Los Angeles, 1984 – 2 percent) implemented this model.

Recently, Russia adopted a mixed model to host the Olympics in Sochi, while profit amounted to $10 billion. Japan officially announced that it would be able to gain approximately $30 billion in profit from the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

These financing models demonstrate that not a single Olympics was held without state participation. Such large complex games are the most important sport and cultural event, which attract the attention of billions of people in more than 200 countries. Thanks to the Olympics, a government creates a favourable sport image of the country and gains international reputation and recognition.

At the same time, the nation creates new jobs and new sport and social businesses which will contribute to the economy. Thus, we can emphasise that the Olympics are held by the country to strengthen its international prestige, consolidate society and develop infrastructure, which influences the welfare of the people.

Financial sources, which make up the modern Olympic Games budget, can be divided into external and internal. The external include donations, sponsored funds and trust receipts from government agencies.

Internal sources consist of revenue from selling television broadcasting rights of the Olympics, tickets to sporting events, licensing, granting rights to post information on the Internet and sell Olympic goods through online stores, selling stamps, coins, souvenirs and a lottery.

We have preliminary calculations for the preparation and holding of the Winter Olympics in Almaty. Taking into consideration that the city already has almost all the infrastructure, costs will be relatively small.

This sum includes funds for hosting the Winter Games in 2022, as well as for preparations, construction of the remaining objects and modernisation of urban infrastructure.

Currently, the main indicator of the development of mass sport and promotion of healthy lifestyle is the organisation of sports events. At present, the country has held 27,655 sports events, 17,811of which were conducted in the countryside. These events involved more than three and a half million people, including 2.2 million in rural areas.

A well-developed network of sports facilities is of great importance for the development of mass sports. The total number of such facilities is 34,234, including 21,915 in rural areas.

The ministry also plans step-by-step construction of fitness centres through co-financing from the national and local budgets and attracting sponsors. Prior to 2017, we plan to launch 43 centres, with 14 of them opened this year. In addition, at the expense of the Confederation of Combat and Strength Sports, two fitness centres in Semey and Turkestan and a multifunctional complex centre under the World Academy of Boxing and Martial Arts were built, while construction of a martial arts competition arena in Astana has also begun.

By 2020, we expect to increase the network of sports clubs in educational institutions of all levels by 40 percent, while advancing the number of people engaged in physical culture and sports to 40 percent of the population by 2030 and 60 percent by 2050.
The author is Deputy Minister of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan.

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