One of Kazakhstan’s 100 new faces trains young sportspeople in rural area

ASTANA – Almas Beissenov, an 18-time winner of the Kazakhstan Athletics Championship, is sharing his experience with young athletes. He works as a coach at a sports school in a North Kazakhstan village, achieving great results despite severe weather conditions and lack of training facilities.

Almas Beissenov. Photo credit: 100esim.el.kz.

“We have many talented athletes here, but I am especially proud of Kristina Morozova. She was 17 when she participated in the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games 2018. She came in 10th in race walking. I think it is a great achievement for a girl from the countryside where athletes do not have access to modern sports facilities as they do in large cities. She worked very hard. Now, she studies at Almaty Sports College. She was included in the National Olympic Team,” he said in an exclusive interview for this story.

Saumalkol village is located 248 kilometres from Petropavlovsk, the regional capital. Four-month snowy winters, with the temperature getting extremely low, are typical.

“We do not have any large sports facilities here. Our athletes have to train outside, even in winter. Hopefully, we will have a sports and fitness complex in our village soon. The local authorities plan to start complex construction next year.  I saw the building design. The issue is that the building has a standard design and does not include race tracks or other athletics training facilities. I made a request to local authorities to change the design and include the facilities for athletes’ training. I also asked the regional business community to finance this part of the construction. I hope all these efforts have results and our athletes get an opportunity to train effectively all year round,” he added.

Beissenov focuses on vulnerable children. He feels the importance of sports in educating orphan children and those from dysfunctional families cannot be overestimated.

“Stepan Spasskiy is an orphan child. He is a winner of several regional athletics championships. In 2018, he won the Karaganda International Armanga Zhol (The Path to Dream) marathon. It is symbolic that he won this marathon. He was very happy to get his first prize money in this competition. It is very important to get these children involved in sports. They learn to set and achieve goals and a coach becomes their mentor not only in sports, but in life,” he said.

In 2018, Beissenov was recognised by the Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science and the North Kazakhstan regional administration for his contribution to educating the younger generation.

Thanks to the 100 New Faces project, he has become well-known in the region and beyond. Schools and universities often invite him for meetings with students, where he shares his knowledge and popularises sports among youth.