Sport in Kazakhstan
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Kazakhstan consistently performs in Olympic competitions. It is especially successful in boxing. This has brought some attention to the Central Asian nation, and increased world awareness of its athletes. Kazakhstan's city of Almaty submitted twice bid for the Winter Olympics: In 2014 and again for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Astana and Almaty hosted the 2011 Asian Winter Games.
Dmitry Karpov is a distinguished decathlete, taking bronze in both the 2004 Summer Olympics, and the 2003 and 2007 World Athletics Championships. Olga Rypakova is an athlete, specialized in triple jump (women's), taking silver in the 2011 World Championships in Athletics and Gold in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
- Bandy – The Kazakhstan national bandy team is among the best in the world, and has many times won the bronze medal at the Bandy World Championship, including the 2012 edition when Kazakhstan hosted the tournament on home ice. In the 2011 tournament, they were an extra-time in the semi-final from reaching the final for the first time. In 2012, they were even closer when they took it to a penalty shootout. The team won the first bandy tournament at the Asian Winter Games. During the Soviet time, Dynamo Alma-Ata won the Soviet Union national championships in 1977 and 1990, and the European Cup in 1978. Bandy is developed in 10 of the country's 17 administrative divisions (8 of the 14 regions and 2 of the 3 cities which are situated inside of but are not part of regions). Akzhaiyk from Oral, however, is the only professional club.
Kazakhstan's most famous basketball player was Alzhan Zharmukhamedov, who played for CSKA Moscow and the Soviet Union's national basketball team in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout his career, he won multiple titles and medals at some of the world's most prestigeous basketball competitions, including the Summer Olympics, the Basketball World Cup, the EuroBasket (the European Basketball Championship), and the EuroLeague. In 1971 he earned the title Master of Sports of the USSR, International Class and a year later he was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor.
Kazakhstan's national basketball team was established in 1992, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Since its foundation, it has been competitive at the continental level. Its greatest accomplishment was at the 2002 Asian Games, where it defeated the Philippines in its last game to win the bronze medal. At the official Asian Basketball Championship, now called FIBA Asia Cup, the Kazakhs' best finish was 4th place in 2007.
Kazakh boxers are generally well known in the world. In the last three Olympic Games, their performance was assessed as one of the best and they had more medals than any country in the world, except Cuba and Russia (in all three games). In 1996 and 2004, three Kazakhstani boxers (Vassiliy Jirov in 1996, Bakhtiyar Artayev in 2004 and Serik Sapiyev in 2012)) were recognized as the best boxers for their techniques with the Val Barker Trophy, awarded to the best boxer of the tournament.
In boxing, Kazakhstan performed well in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Two boxers, Bekzat Sattarkhanov and Yermakhan Ibraimov, earned gold medals. Another two boxers, Bulat Zhumadilov and Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov, earned silver medals.
Natascha Ragosina, representing Russia, but from Karaganda held seven versions of the women's super middleweight title, and two heavyweight titles during her boxing career. She holds the record as the longest-reigning WBA female super middleweight champion, and the longest-reigning WBC female super middleweight champion.
Skier Vladimir Smirnov won seven medals in total in the 1988, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics, including a gold in the 50 km competition in 1994. He also won 11 medals in total in the World Championships from 1987 to 1995, including four gold medals. During the first part of his active career, he represented the Soviet Union, in the later part Kazakhstan.
Cycling is Kazakhstan's most successful sport. Alexander Vinokourov represented Kazakhstan in his cycling career for the Astana team. Vinokourov had an impressive cycling record finishing third overall in the 2003 Tour de France. Vinokourov finished 5th in the 2005 Tour de France, while two other young Kazakhstanis, Andrey Kashechkin, who later finished 3rd in the 2006 Vuelta a España, and Maxim Iglinsky, winner of 2012 Liege–Bastogne–Liege and now one of the world's best punchers, finished 19th and 37th, respectively. In 2006, Vinokourov's team became known as Astana, after a drug doping scandal forced his team Liberty Seguros from the 2006 Tour de France. Vinokourov helped form a new team funded by a conglomeration of Kazakhstan businesses and adopted the color of the Kazakhstani flag for its uniforms. That same year, Vinokourov and Kashechkin took first and third places in general classification at Vuelta a España in Spain. Vinokourov won the gold medal in the Cycling Road Race at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In September 2006, Vinokourov won the 61st Vuelta a España by attacking Alejandro Valverde in dramatic fashion with 23 km to go in Stage 17. He then held on to his lead over the next four stages, including the final individual time trial to win the Vuelta. Vinokourov and Kashechkin would go on in 2007 to form a new team, backed by the same sponsors as their team from 2006, but with its own lineage. This team is also known as Astana.
Football is the most popular sport in Kazakhstan. The Football Federation of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстанның Футбол Федерациясы, Qazaqstannıñ fwtbol federacïyası) is the sport's national governing body. The FFK organises the men's, women's, and futsal national teams.
The Kazakhstan Hockey Championship is held since 1992. Barys Astana is the main domestic Kazakhstani ice hockey professional team, and having played in the Kazakhstani national league until the 2008–09 season, when they were transferred to play in the Kontinental Hockey League. Meanwhile, the Kazzinc-Torpedo and play in the Supreme Hockey League since 1996 and the Saryarka Karagandy since 2012.
Aliya Yussupova was placed 4th in the Summer Olympic Games in Athens. She has been among the medalist winners in several previous tournaments. Currently, she is considered to be one of the top rhythmic gymnasts in the world. After the retiring of Aliya Yussupova in the end of 2009, Kazakhstan maintained its top place in the world thanks to the emerge of Anna Alyabyeva who now represents the nation at the international tournaments, grand prix, and world championship. As of 2015 Sabina Ashirbayeva started her senior career and is growing and achieving good results, she is following the footsteps of former fellow rhythmic gymnast Aliya Yussupova.
Rugby union is a popular sport in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan Rugby Union was founded in 1993. It develops traditions of rugby existing in Kazakhstan since 1966, when the first men's national rugby team of Kazakhstani Soviet Republic was formed. In 2002, the national women's team became the Asian Champions for the third time. The men's team is becoming stronger and participating in major international tournaments. It is now ranked 32nd (out of 95) position in the IRB World Rankings.
Since 2012 there is the Polo Federation of Kazakhstan, which in 2014 has been a full member of the Federation of International Polo in the General Assembly, which took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The country has a national polo team.
The high altitude speed skating rink Medeu near Almaty is one of the foremost outdoor arenas in the world and has seen many world records in all speed skating distances before the era of indoor arenas. Alau Ice Palace in Astana was built for the Asian Winter Games in 2011.
- Ilya Ilyin – Competing in the 105 kg men's category, he is currently one of the best weightlifters of his generation. In his first international competition, the 2005 World Weightlifting Championships, he came first in the total (386 kg) and clean and jerk (216 kg) at the age of 17 in the 85 kg men's category. He is one of the few weightlifters who have won two consecutive gold medals at the Olympics, the first at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, and then second in the 94 kg men's category at the London 2012 Summer Olympics in the 94 kg men's category. He set a new world record in the 94 kg category for clean & jerk (233 kg) and the total (418 kg) at London. He has been undefeated in all World and Olympic competitions that he has entered in. Recently, in the 2014 World Weightlifting Championships, competing in the 105 kg men's category, he won gold in the total (432 kg) and in the clean and jerk with the world record (242 kg).
- Team picture after the bronze medal had been captured in WCS 2015
- Bandy World Championships 2012 Official home page
- Press conference for the Head Coaches of teams Finland and Kazakhstan
- History of the Kazakhstan Polo Federation
- Polo in Kazakhstan. Interview to Santiago Schweitzer, polotrainer.
- 2014 World Weightlifting Championships