ASTANA – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with the winners of the 19th Asian Games and world champion in freestyle wrestling Rizabek Aitmukhan on Oct. 11, reported the Akorda press service.
The national team brought home 10 gold, 22 silver and 48 bronze medals from the Asian Games, held from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 in Hangzhou, China.
Tokayev congratulated athletes and coaches on their achievements, emphasizing the victory of 19-year-old Aitmukhan, who became the first Kazakh world champion in freestyle wrestling in the 92-kilogram weight category on Sept. 18 in Belgrade, Serbia. At the Asian Games, Kazakh athletes achieved high results in shooting, rowing, cycling, and jiu-jitsu. The President commended the karate team for winning first place in the team competition.
“Each of you has achieved high results thanks to hard work and an unbending will to win. However, our country’s performance both at the previous Olympic Games and at the Asian Games could have been better. This needs to be discussed openly. Boxing, weightlifting, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling have traditionally made a significant contribution to the medal collection of our team. Athletics and team sports, as a rule, pleased our fans more. We have to carry out serious work on mistakes in all these disciplines,” said the President.
The country pays great attention to sports, allocating significant funds for its development, however, Tokayev said, the country’s results in sports are relatively modest.
“It is obvious that our results in professional sports indicate extremely low efficiency in the use of government resources. This situation is unacceptable; we need fundamental reforms in this sector. The relevant ministry should analyze the situation in detail and develop a new vision for the development of sports,” the President said, focusing on specific measures that need to be taken in the near future.
Tokayev expressed a desire for greater value for funds allocated to elite sports, excluding ineffective expenditures and focusing on sports in accordance with the specifics of the regions. The main emphasis should be made on the development of mass sports and physical culture, he said.
The quality of management in the sports sector was another priority announced by the President. He urged the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the National Olympic Committee and the federations to better coordinate work.
“The lack of effective relationship, interaction, and mutual assistance leads to negative results, in other words, to defeats. This situation is unacceptable on the eve of the Paris Olympics. It is necessary to audit the activities of sports federations financed from the state budget,” said Tokayev.
The President instructed to improve the level of training of national teams, creating a modern infrastructure for training athletes in terms of sports medicine and pharmacological support. Tokayev urged to accelerate the construction of the National University of Sports, which is supposed to play a key role in this regard. It is also necessary to increase wages and take additional social support measures for coaches and other sports specialists.
The system of training the sports reserve was also a key focus of the meeting. Tokayev noted that the government and akims (mayors) should create favorable conditions for the promotion of gifted and promising athletes.
“We have enough young people who are ready to work with full dedication to achieve outstanding results. We should open the way for domestic athletes, not only rely on foreign ones. It is extremely important to ensure transparency and objectivity in selection, eliminating any form of favoritism and bias. Only the best of the best should represent our country at international championships. The principle of open and fair competition should be at the forefront of domestic sports,” the President emphasized.
Tokayev asked to take lessons from the results of past competitions and carefully prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. The President wished success to the athletes and coaching corps on the path to future victories and awarded athletes with certificates of honor.
Two-time winner and bronze medalist of the 19th Asian Games in skeet shooting Assem Orynbay, winner and silver medalist of the 19th Asian Games in canoeing and kayaking Sergey Yemelyanov, world champion in freestyle wrestling Rizabek Aitmukhan, winner of the 19th Asian Games in karate Nurkanat Azhikanov and head coach of the national team in bullet shooting Olga Dovgun also addressed the meeting participants.