ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s winter sports popularity continues despite recently losing the chance to host the Winter Olympics in Almaty in 2022 by only a few votes. After the country’s Sochi 2014 Olympics figure skating success, where Kazakh trailblazer Denis Ten took the first-ever Olympic figure skating bronze for his country, the nation’s aspirations have been set even higher. With 15-year-old rising star Elizabet Tursynbayeva, these ambitions seem within arm’s reach, as she took silver at the 2015 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City, Utah, and won four junior international competitions last season.
“Elizabet is a very talented girl with a strong and decisive character,” reported the Ice Network website, citing her coach, Brian Orser. “She works very hard and has the full support of her national federation, family and coaching staff. This girl has everything it takes to become the best skater in the world.”
Tursynbayeva was born in Moscow on Feb. 14, 2000. In May 2015, she moved to Toronto, Canada.
“I dreamed a long time to be coached by him,” said Tursynbayeva’s mother Pashakan Sultanalieva in an interview with Goldenskate.com. “He is a very good coach.”
Working under his tutelage is a distinct advantage, she added. Although she is not a coach, last season her daughter trained most of the time alone with her in a shopping mall ice rink in Moscow.
“It was very hard to prepare [for competitions] in the public skating sessions,” said her mother. “There were lots of kids on the ice and they can’t give way. It was difficult to do the jumps. It was terrible to train this way since September .”
Despite all the inconveniences and hurdles, however, with her parents’ assistance the young Kazakh has managed to put her name on major mass media outlets. Now the world is learning to pronounce her last name properly and will probably remember it for years to come.
“I’ll have a lot of competitions this year,” noted Tursynbayeva. “I want to compete at Junior and Senior Worlds and also the Youth Olympic Games. I would have liked to have gone to the Four Continents as well, but unfortunately they take place at the same time as the Youth Olympics. I like to compete. I didn’t have enough big competitions [last season], because I was not age eligible. But now I want to go to all competitions.”
The talented young skater, who in her spare time enjoys playing the violin, spends most of her day on the ice.
“My training sessions begin at 8:40 in the morning and then I also have workouts at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. After that, I have off-ice training. At home, I play the violin and do my homework. In the evening, I mostly rest and gather strength,” she said. “I want to make a decent debut in the Senior Grand Prix Series, at Skate America and Skate Canada. Also, I want to take part in the senior world championships in Boston.”