Biathlete, Freestyler Duo Win Kazakhstan’s First Winter Universiade Gold Medals

ASTANA – The Almaty Winter Universiade’s second day on Jan. 31 was remarkable for the host nation Kazakhstan’s two inaugural gold medals.

Zhanbota Aldabergenova

Freestyler Zhanbota Aldabergenova. Photo credit: rus.azattyq.org

First, biathlete Alina Raikova came in first in the individual 15-kilometre race. She covered the distance in 59 minutes and 48.7 seconds. Another representative of Kazakhstan, Galina Vishnevskaya, came in second. Bronze medal went to Nadiia Bielkina from Ukraine.

“I have been struggling throughout this season because of a number of failures and injuries. So, my goal in this race was to win over myself rather than winning the race. I managed to concentrate, to cover the track, shoot well and avoid mistakes. It was hard and I was nervous but I tried to cope with emotions to achieve a good result,” said Raikova.

Later, Kazakh freestylers’ duo Zhanbota Aldabergenova and Baglan Inkarbek claimed gold in mixed team aerials. The pair bettered performances by two Chinese duos – Syuy Kho and Shi Haitao, and Zhu Ying Ying and Guo Ziming, and secured a comfortable win.

Following two days at the Universiade, Team Russia leads the pack with eight gold, seven  silver, and two bronze medals. Kazakhstan is placed second, with two gold, two silver, and four bronze medals. China is ranked third so far, with two gold, one  silver, and two bronze medals. Students from Poland, Italy, and France have won at least one gold, and seven more nations have claimed at least a medal.

The Winter Universiade 2017 runs fromJan. 29 to Feb 8. More than 2,000 student athletes representing 57 nations contest a total of 88 medals in 12 sports.

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