Kazakhstan prepared for Asian Winter Games
June 22. China Daily
Only six months remain before the start of the 7th Asian Winter Olympic Games and preparations in Kazakhstan are well underway. Reports from Almaty, one of the two cities in Kazakhstan to host the Games, are that it is intending to host the largest and most spectacular Games in the history of the competition.
To ensure this becomes reality, a large amount of investment in infrastructure has taken place, including sports facilities, hotels, concert halls and entertainment centers south of the capital.
Among the major facilities in Almaty are the ice skating rink, Medeo, and skiing center Shymbulak, located on the picturesque slopes of the Tien Shan mountain range. The Asian Games have breathed new life into these facilities, once renowned throughout the former Soviet Union. Updated with the latest technology, Medeo will play host to the first Bandy competition of the Asian Winter Games and the closing ceremony of the Games.
At Shymbulak, competitions are scheduled in alpine skiing and freestyle where they will be met by an upgraded center as the result of an investment program of more than $1 billion. The quality and length of the ski slopes are of a world-class standard and have been highly recommended by the International Ski Federation.
In order to facilitate fast and easily accessible transportation between the two Olympic facilities a special ski lift will be built equipped with hundreds of gondolas. The ski lift will be able to transport 2,000 people per hour, taking them 15 minutes to get from one venue to the other.
Also being held in Almaty are bobsled, biathlon and ski orienteering events. The latter has been included in the program for the first time by the initiative of Kazakhstan. The new biatholon ski base in south east Almaty called Soldiers Gorge has been constructed for these events.
During the Winter Games the southern capital will become a “cultural Asia”; a never before seen montage of Central Asian culture and festivals. It will reflect the mix of cultural heritages present in Kazakhstan. Spectators will see circus and theatrical performances as well as dance and music shows. They will also have the opportunity to participate in numerous competitions, exhibitions, fairs and other activities.
Finally, Almaty will be the first city in Kazakhstan to host the Olympic flame. It is important to note this will be the first time in the history of the Asian Games that a flame relay has been held. The idea of carrying the torch through snow was an innovation proposed by Kazakhstan and accepted by the Olympic Committee of Asia and will now be an integral part of the Winter Olympic Games.
Thousands of torch-bearers will carry the flame through all regions of the country and will complete the relay by handing the baton over at the climax of the opening of the Games in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.