NUR-SULTAN – Training coaches, investing in regional facilities and a fair sports culture are important for developing Kazakh athletics, said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe during a Nov. 3 press conference in the capital.
“There are two or three topics that we discussed. The first is the training of coaches, because this is a key moment for the development of sports. The second is the government investment in all regions of Kazakhstan,” he said regarding his discussion with Prime Minister Askar Mamin.
“Now, we are ready to move on to discuss activities in new facilities. We will create conditions for the development of sports through these sports events. Another area that is also very important is the support of a culture of fair sports. It is important that we have the right trainers with the right principles, professionals who understand that you can achieve the result without using dishonest methods. It inspires me that your sports representatives understand this. Already in Nur-Sultan, I became a fan of the Barys hockey team. This is my new (favourite) hockey club,” he explained.
Mamin, who agreed new investment is necessary to help promote sports, noted the country is constructing seven new athletic centres.
“The popularisation of sports, including athletics, is an important area of our policy. In Kazakhstan, seven leading athletic centres are under construction – in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Pavlodar, Aktobe, Taldykorgan, Atyrau and Ust-Kamenogorsk – which will contribute to the further cultivation of this sport,” he said.
Despite some significant growth in sports’ popularity and profitability, the priority is making them more attractive to young people, said Coe.
“The Doha World Cup attracted more spectators than previous world tournaments. The largest sponsors in history are involved in track and field athletics. A contract for 10 years was signed for the Diamond League with a company from China. Of course, we must continue to work to make changes in our sports and attract young people. We cannot stand still. The main challenge for us is to encourage the younger generation to play sports,” said Coe.
He praised the government’s actions regarding further athletic development.
“I have had a busy last 24 hours in Kazakhstan. You have provided me with unique opportunities for meetings not only with leaders of sports organisations, but also with representatives of the political leadership. I was glad to see agreement in the programme on the development of athletics. I see the readiness of your federation for the challenges that our sports have. On the part of the prime minister, we saw very strong support for investing in infrastructure for the future of athletics and preparing training programmes for trainers,” he added.