NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh para taekwondo athlete Nurlan Dombay, the world ranking leader in the K43 category (up to 75 kg) in accordance with Paralympic Games 2020 qualifications, has received his license for Tokyo.
Dombay is a two-time world, three-time Asian and two-time European champion. In 2019, he won gold medals at the World Championships in Turkey, Asian Open Championships in Jordan and European Open Championships in Italy and silver at the African Championships in Egypt.
“It was very impressive when Kazakhstan’s flag was raised and the anthem was played,” he said in an exclusive interview for this story.
Tokyo will be Dombay’s first Paralympic Games. The competition will be tough, as the 12 participants are the strongest in the world, he said.
He is planning to train for the upcoming competitions in camps in the capital and abroad, as he also expects to participate in the Asia Para Taekwondo Open Championships March 3 in Beirut, Lebanon.
“The preparation is going very well. The National Paralympic Centre is conducting the first training camp now,” he said.
Dombay learned of the license in October, said his personal coach Asan Kasaev in an interview with azh.kz.
“In his weight up to 75 kg, Nurlan has won the highest rating in the world; the second in this weight is Ukrainian Anton Shvets. These two athletes were the first to receive licenses according to their rating,” he added.
The victory (at the World Championships) “has come at a heavy cost,” said Dombay.
“Now, without stopping, I set myself the goal of winning a gold medal at the Paralympic Games,” he says.
Dombay received the Altyn Samgau National Sports Award as the Best Paralympic Athlete in 2019. His recognition and dominance in the sport have served to interest many young Kazakh para athletes to participate in taekwondo.