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Astana, October 18: The pace of Kazakhstan’s preparations for the 7th WinterAsian Games kicking off on January 30 is constantly increasing.

One of the climax points for the opening ceremony will be a lighting of the flame of the Games. As known, it will start its way in Kuwait, the residence of Olympic Committee of Asia, on January 11, and after being delivered to Kazakhstan will be carried through every region of the country until it reaches its destination at the capital’s new sport stadium “Astana-Arena”.

The Winter Asiad will give Kazakhstan a great chance to present its best sides to the international audience, through promoting culture, national traditions, values and history, showing the world a friendly, peaceful and united nation, as well as scale up the winter sports infrastructure, President Nursultan Nazarbaev has previously stated.

The President has particularly noted that the government will complete all of the international requirements to carry out the Asiad. “It is our obligation. Kazakhstan now has the international authority and for that reason ‘Asiad’ will take place in any case or scenario. Every object, related to the international event, will be finished in time”, Prime Minister Massimov said in September.

An improved infrastructure of winter sports  and the experience gained through arranging such a large-scale event will definitely benefit Kazakhstan’s chances in future bids for hosting the similar international sports events of the highest level, including the Winter Olympics. Almaty’s bid for the games of 2014 went close to making a shortlist, which included the eventual winners Sochi, and showed that the country can have decent chances in the near future. Kazakhstan’s sports officials have already said there were plans to bid for a Winter Universiade and Youth Winter Games.

As emphasised repeatedly by President Nazarbayev, it is also very important that the Asiad’s broadcasts and upgraded infrastructure for sports will serve as a strong impetus for the popularisation of healthy lifestyles among the citizens of Kazakhstan.

Hosting the Asiad will have a positive impact on highlighting Kazakhstan as a promising destination for foreign tourists, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Tourism and Sports Temirkhan Dosmukhambetov has stated, as it will be widely broadcast internationally, with live coverage to most Asian nations, and will certainly attract many visitors to the event.

It is expected that around ten thousand guests and participants, including five hundred journalists, will be visiting Kazakhstan. The ‘Cultural Asiad’ programme has been developed in order to plan entertainment events and programs for the participant and guests of Games.

“The capital will host various cultural events, such as a festival of ice sculptures, music and dance festival ‘Voice of Astana’, a festival of circus art, of fine art, a photo exhibition, a competition in drawing and essay writing as well as other events”, Vice Minister of Tourism and Sport Talgat Yermegyaev explained.

The Government has also launched a major logistics centre to address the issues of visas, registration and accreditation of the participants, accommodation, technical provision, transportation and catering.

Several objects have been built, repaired and renovated for the event, such as the “Shymbylak” Ski Resort, with total cost of works reaching KZT 118 billion (KZT 147 =  US$ 1), the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace (KZT 8.6 billion), a brand new complex of ski trampolines (KZT 16.8 billion) and the “Medeu” Ice Rink (KZT 14.5 billion), all in Almaty. The International Centre for winter sports in Burabay to the north of Astana can be used by almost 500 people simultaneously. It will be one of the best and most modern centres in the world that will have everything necessary for the preparation for all types of winter sports. After its completion, the competitions among the sportsmen of Central Asia and beyond will be able to take place here.

With less than three months  left until the event, much work has been done, but there is also time left for further improvements.

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