Kazakhstan: Welcome The Winter Universiade 2017 in Almaty
Kazakhstan is the first among CIS countries to host the Winter Universiade. Currently, the Organizing Committee is in the active phase of preparation for the event. Operational activities are being accomplished in accordance and guidance of International Federation of University Sport (FISU). The Winter Universiade will take place in Almaty from January 29 to February 8. More than 2000 athletes from more than 57 countries are expected to take part in the Winter Universiade 2017. The program of the event will include 12 sport held in eight venues, the total number of medals 86. 3000 volunteers will be involved in organization of the event (including volunteers from foreign countries and regions of Kazakhstan). Over 30 000 guests and tourists are expected to attend the festivities. It is estimated that the number of TV viewers will reach 1 billion, with broadcasting available in 80 countries.
The Winter Universiade will include 12 sports: Alpine skiing, biathlon, curling, speed skating, Nordic combined, Cross-country, ski jumping, snowboarding, figure skating, freestyle skating, ice hockey, short track. At this point, 57 countries officially registered to take part in the event. The final list of participating countries will be known at the end of this year. There are 5 test events planned to be held before the Universiade, where apart from technical services, the functional areas of the Organizing Committee will be tested. 127 international judges and around 600 national technical officials will be involved in the event. During the Winter Universiade, the Games Control Centre will function to monitor the event online 24 hours a day. The competitions will be held at eight venues: Shymbulak Ski Resort, Medeu High-mountain Ice Rink, Sunkar International Ski Jumping Complex, Baluan Sholak Sports Palace, Alatau Cross-country Skiing and Biathlon Stadium, Almaty Arena, Halyk Arena and Tabagan Ski Resort. It is not the first time Almaty will host this kind of multi-sport event. In 2011, Almaty hosted the seventh Asian Winter Games.
Winter Universiade 2017 Venues:
Almaty Arena. The multifunctional Ice Complex with a seating capacity of 12 000 is a new arena of world class designed for opening and closing ceremonies of the Almaty Winter Universiade 2017. The venue will also stage the figure skating and curling events.
The complex was finished 3 months ahead of schedule. Currently, site construction works are being conducted. The share of local content at the venue is 60%. The venue was designed and built by the Kazakh engineers. The Almaty Arena is the biggest venue of the Winter Universiade 2017 and is capable to attract 600 000 attendees annually. The venue comprises the main arena with 12 000 seats and small arena with 475 seats. The main arena will host the Opening and Closing ceremonies, as well as figure skating events. The small arena will host curling.
Apart from hosting the Winter Universiade events, it will also stage boxing, figure skating, basketball, concerts, and other events. It is designed to be the second largest venue in CIS, in its respective discipline. The venue is perfectly planned for holding conferences, forums and exhibitions at various levels with equipped halls, meeting rooms and others. The new arena will become permanent venue for professional athletes as training process in such conditions may proceed at the highest level. At the same time, “Almaty Arena” will be available for everyone (public skating, amateur competitions, organization of sports clubs and others).
Halyk Arena. The Halyk Arena was commissioned specifically for the Winter Universiade 2017. A seating capacity of the venue is 3000. Along with the Ice Palace, this venue will be among top sports establishments during the Universiade and it will continue to attract spectators long afterwards. Both Almaty Arena and Halyk Arena are designed with the perspective of their large-scale use after the students’ competitions. The arenas are built with the possibility of transforming ice cover into courts for volleyball, basketball, indoor soccer, as well as holding large-scale concerts provided with the latest technologies of sound and light system. It is predicted that the venue is capable to attract 150 000 attendees annually.
Athletes’ Village. For the first time in the history of the Winter Universiades, the Athletes’ Village is being constructed specifically for the event. The Athletes’ Village consists of 8-9 storey apartment blocks in total amount of eight buildings and four 14-storey, universal square in the middle of the village, dining room for 800 people, swimming pool, medical centre, cinema and domestic service facilities as well, 2-storey platform with a rich infrastructure that will ensure comfortable service for Universiade participants. It stands to note that all venues built for the Winter Universiade will be available for public use after staging the games.
Cultural program. An opening Ceremony will take place on January 29 in the Almaty Arena. The competition officially starts after lightening of the Winter Universiade 2017 main cauldron. The most important part of the ceremony will be the parade of participating countries along with demonstration of special cultural program. A closing Ceremony will also be held in the Almaty Arena on February 8. The games will be officially closed after passing the flag of the FISU to the city of Krasnoyarsk, the host city of the 29th Winter Universiade.
According to the traditions of FISU, the place of awarding the athletes must be located in the center of the city. The so-called “Medal Plaza” is designed to stage the awarding ceremonies featuring the citizens and guests of the city, the top athletes, representatives of the Organizing Committee and FISU. In Almaty, the “Medal Plaza” will be located in front of the Republic Palace. It stands to note that before the start of the event, in the period of January 25 – 29 there will be organized welcome ceremonies for arriving of foreign delegations in the Athletes’ Village. Traditionally, after the welcome ceremony flags of all participating countries will be ran up at the Flag Alley.
Torch Relay. Start of the Winter Universiade Torch Relay is planned for January 25. In Astana, the torch of the Universiade will be lightened in Nazarbayev University. Torch Relay will involve all regions of the country, and each region will lighten its own torch. Students will have opportunity to come up with their own way of lightening the torch. After travelling around the country, the torch will arrive to Almaty. According to plan, 16 torches will be joined in Almaty and at the culmination point of the Opening ceremony they will be put together in one big flame.
Symbols of the Universiade:
The slogan of the Universiade is “Spread your wings!” It is hoped that it will encourage the youth participating in the competitions to succeed. The Universiade logo must contain the image of the Latin letter U, which is a mandatory element of any sports event held by FISU.
The logo of the Winter Universiade 2017 is presented in the form of stylized wings and has a distinct dynamic form (top from left to right) which is meant to symbolize growth and the pursuit of excellence.
Mascot of the Universiade. A young falcon named “Sunkar” was chosen to be the Winter Universiade’s mascot. Sunkar is a free and strong inhabitant of the Kazakh steppes and symbolizes speed, flight, lightness, energy, and a thirst for victory – precisely the qualities that are inherent in young athletes.
Medals. Medals are made of metal alloy in the classic style that imitates gold, silver and bronze. The medals were minted in the Kazakhstan Mint featuring colored enamel. The moiré ribbon was inscribed with the logo of the Universiade. On the obverse of the medal placed the logo of FISU (International University Sport Federation), name of the games and hosting city.