ASTANA – The 10th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships took place in the Kazakh capital on Feb. 10-12. The tournament brought together approximately 300 athletes from 30 countries who competed in 26 disciplines.
Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, who attended the opening ceremony on Feb. 10, delivered a welcome letter from President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
“Sport knows no boundaries. It strengthens friendships, brings entire nations and countries together… The Kazakh athletes successfully perform and defend the honor of the country at major world competitions. They serve as an example for the younger generation and inspire young people for bright victories. I am confident the Asian Championship in Astana gives a new impetus to the development of athletics in our country,” said the President.
The Asian Indoor Track and Field Championship was held for the first time in the CIS countries. Sixty-nine athletes represented Kazakhstan at the games.
Despite the fact that outside temperatures were almost 20 degrees below zero Celsius, there was a heated match inside.
On the first day of the competition, head coach of the national team Dmitry Karpov predicted Kazakhstan would be in the top three in the unofficial standings.
Following the results of three days of competition, the first place in the unofficial standings was taken by the Japanese team. Athletes from Japan won six gold, five silver and four bronze medals. Kazakh athletes lost quite a bit to Japanese athletes and won six gold and three silver and bronze medals each. The athletes from Qatar took third place with two gold, four silver and four bronze medals.
According to the Minister of Sports and Culture of Kazakhstan, Askhat Oralov, the results of the Kazakh athletes can be called successful, since they have never won so many medals before.
Fourth, fifth and sixth places were distributed between the athletes from China (2-2-6), Uzbekistan (2-1-1) and India (1-6-1).
In total, representatives of 16 countries of the Asian continent became medal winners at the Athletics Asian Games.
The jubilee Asian Championship finished with a touching ceremony of farewell to outstanding Kazakh athlete, Olympic champion, owner of a full set of Olympic medals in the triple jump Olga Rypakova.
“I am grateful to my country! From the President and sports leaders to my youngest fan for only one single, but very important thing – their faith in me. I am grateful to fate and God for the opportunity to realize me as a person, as a professional athlete,” said Rypakova at the ceremony.
At the end of the ceremony, Rypakova made a symbolic circle of honor around the arena to the applause of the audience, many of whom could not hide their tears.