Cross-country roller skiers pay tribute to Denis Ten in Astana

More than 150 athletes competed July 29 in the Roller Ski Cup  in Astana dedicated to the memory of Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten.

Amateur and professional athletes took to the start across eight categories. A minute of silence preceded the start of the race in the capital’s central park, mourning the recent tragic death of the Olympic figure skater.

“We all knew Denis as a talented athlete who loved the sport and our country. His death is a national tragedy, he was not only a gifted figure skater, he was the ambassador of winter sports in Kazakhstan. We could not start the competition without paying tribute to Denis. We usually position these events as a ski holiday, and try to make the entertainment programme, but today our athletes went to the start in a completely different mood, the races that we conducted paid tribute to an amazing athlete and a wonderful person,” said Nikita Devyatkin, the vice-president of Kazakh cross-country skiing federation.

This year the Astana cup was held for the sixth time and was given the status of an international competition. Professional athletes with active International Ski Federation (FIS) licenses competed in male and female categories.

“We are very pleased that there is an opportunity to hold such high-level competition in Kazakhstan. Organisers of the Astana Cup completed a big work this year, and I would also like to express my gratitude to the partners and sponsors of the cross-country skiing federation,” said Alexander Batyaykin, the national team manager.

Vitaly Puhkalo showed the best result among the 44 elite male skiers. Konstantin Bortsov crossed the finish line with the second best result and Olzhas Klimin finished in third. In the elite female category, the strongest was Valeriya Tyuleneva, Ksenia Shalygina finished in second place and Elmira Mutagarova came in third.

“For us, athletes and coaches of the national team, the Astana Cup is an opportunity to conduct an analysis of the summer training and adjust the training process. Of course, today was not the usual holiday mood, we are all still shocked by the death of Denis Ten. I think that such a real and bright person, like no other, deserves to be honoured by dedicating to him the most prestigious international competitions,” said Kazakh National Team Member Nikolai Chebotko.