ALMATY, Kazakhstan, May 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Nearly three million people, in four of the biggest cities in Kazakhstan - Almaty, Astana, Shymkent and Oral (Uralsk) - had the chance to take part in the Olympic Day celebrations organised by the National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the respective city administrations and the Organizing Committee for International Sports events in Almaty city to support Almaty´s bid for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2022.
Throughout Kazakhstan, an additional 25,000 people actively took part in festivities and competitions organized by the National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, to show their support for Almaty's bid to host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2022. In the biggest cities in the country, cycling marathons were organized and included the city Mayors competing, as well as in traditional Kazakh sports in Shymkent. The participants were watched and cheered by big crowds along the streets. After the marathons and races were over, residents were able to participate in various activities like wrestling, tennis, sumo fight, street ball and workouts organized by the national sport federations and local sports clubs.
In Almaty, 10 students - representatives of the very strong Kazakh volunteer movement - presented a 50 square meter flag with the Almaty 2022 bid logo to highlight the young generation's support for the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games. The NOC of Kazakhstan, recognized by the IOC in 1992, has held Olympic Day events ever since. Beginning with some races of different distances, it now oversees a multitude of events throughout the country for the entire family, not just athletes, underlining this date as a very special day for Kazakh sports.
During a welcome speech, Mr Akhmetzhan Yessimov, Almaty city Mayor, said: "For us here, it is not just another celebration and further proof that Almaty is a real sports city, bidding and hosting major sports events like the Asian Winter Games, FIS Nordic Combined Championships or the forthcoming Olympic sports World Championships and the Winter Universiade. This day shows the unity of Kazakhstan. The nation that wants the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Almaty 2022, and I am grateful that my colleagues from the other cities have helped Almaty to tell the world and in particular the Olympic Movement 'we want these Games'. Thanks also to the NOC and the Ministry of Sports and Culture for organizing these events - we honestly hope this reiterates to the International Olympic Committee that Kazakhstan is willing and able to become the host of the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Mayors of all four respective cities also took part and showed solidarity and support for the Winter Olympic Games bid. Equally, prominent athletes such as Serik Sapiyev (2012 London OG gold medalist in boxing), Gusal Manurova (2012 London OG bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling) and Yuriy Melnichenko (Double World Champion, and Olympic champion in Greco-roman style wrestling) all showed full support for the 2022 Almaty bid.
Mr Saken Mussaibekov, Vice Minister of Culture and Sports of Republic of Kazakhstan, said: "Olympic Day is an essential part of Sport strategy in Kazakhstan as it draws attention to Olympic values and to the true essence of sports. We celebrate this historic day with pride, because Kazakh people are proud of their sports heritage. We will celebrate the Olympic Day by embodying the true Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, focusing on the understanding and implementation of these basic principles. This year it will be even more special as we are in contention to host the biggest winter sports event - Almaty is in the final race to host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2022 - and this honours us and gives reason to our efforts to further implement and root sports as a daily custom in Kazakhstan. Our bid motto of 'Keeping It Real!' is more than a simple expression - it is the fulfilment of a nation's pride and ambition to aspire for more, to realize the dream of its people."
"Kazakhstan is a country of sport. We love sport, watching it or playing it. We are very passionate about sport. The 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games would definitely motivate our population even more to be active, while showing the world our wonderful country with diverse culture and giving us the honour of hosting thousands of guests from all over the world by offering them the traditional and warm-hearted Kazakh hospitality. Astana citizens fully support Almaty's bid for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2022 and my personal belief is that we will do it!" commented Mr Arman Bolarov, one of the participants of the race in Astana.
Follow @RealAlmaty2022 on