ASTANA – The PyeongChang Olympics will start in just a little more than two weeks. To date, Kazakhstan will be represented by athletes who have won 49 Olympic licenses and the final list of qualifiers will be known in the next few days.
A send-off ceremony for the national team, held recently in Almaty, included well wishes from National Olympic Committee (NOC) President Timur Kulibayev and Vice Minister of Culture and Sports Saken Musaibekov.
“The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Culture and Sports, National Olympic Committee, akimats and national federations have created all the necessary conditions for the proper preparation of Kazakhstan’s teams for the Olympic Games. Complex research teams and technical personnel provided all-around support and full training in all sports. We hope that all these efforts will give good results,” said Kulibayev.
“You are about to take part in very important competitions, which were preceded by hours of hard training and months and years of preparation. We believe in you and will be cheering for each of our athletes,” he added.
The ceremony was attended by cross-country skiers, biathletes and freestyle athletes attending the final training camp in Kazakhstan before the Games. Skier Anna Shevchenko and Zhanbota Aldabergenova (acrobatics) spoke on behalf of the team.
“The development of winter sports is widely supported in Kazakhstan. We have the opportunity to train at the best world bases with ours and foreign coaches and compete with the best in the sport. It is an honour for us to take part in the 2018 Olympics. I am sure that each of us will do everything possible and impossible to make our country proud of us,” said Shevchenko.
The Winter Games will take place at 12 sports facilities in two clusters. The PyeongChang mountain cluster will host skiing events, while skating will take place in the coastal city of Gangneung. Olympic villages will be located in both clusters.
The PyeongChang Olympics will be the first winter Games held in South Korea and the third in Asia, following Sapporo (1972) and Nagano (1998). Approximately 2,900 athletes representing 95 NOCs are expected to take part, with 102 sets of medals up for grabs in the main competitions.
The biathletes, the first members of Kazakhstan’s national team to arrive in the Olympic village, will settle Feb. 1. Mountain skiers and skaters will land the next day. Short track and mogul athletes will join them Feb. 3, followed two days later by skiers and ski jumpers. Kazakhstan’s freestyle acrobatics team will come to South Korea Feb. 8. Figure skaters will arrive in PyeongChang separately, with Denis Ten appearing at the Olympic village Feb. 5, followed five days later by Elizabeth Tursynbayeva.
The PyeongChang Olympics will be held Feb. 9-25. Short-tracker Abzal Azhgaliyev will be the flag bearer for the Kazakh national team and the standard will be raised Feb. 7 in the Olympic Village.