Olympians contrary: Azhgaliyev spoke about the problems of winter sports in Kazakhstan

Short tracker Abzal Azhgaliyev spoke in social networks about the problems that exist in the field of winter sports in Kazakhstan. Ulysmedia.kz reports about this.

Olympians contrary: Azhgaliyev spoke about the problems of winter sports in Kazakhstan

“While this topic is still relevant, I want to take the opportunity to tell, using the example of the short track team, how we enter the ice of the most prestigious competitions, without having anything behind us that our rivals have, but we fight with them on an equal footing,” wrote the flag bearer of the national team Abzal Azhgaliyev.

According to the athlete, the Alau Ice Palace is the only ice suitable for training and “which we are not given, so we have to go to training camps in Europe and Russia in order to gain enough training time.”

“Alau has excellent conditions, fast ice, but not created for the athletes of their national teams. We need at least two hours in the morning and in the evening, but the palace, transferred to private hands, must provide for itself, and therefore money becomes a priority – teams do not have that kind of money. We don’t have a place there, in principle, we don’t even have our own separate locker room, where we could simply leave things during training. Before the Olympics, we had a training camp on the Alau ice, but we need training all the time, and not just six months before Beijing,” he said.

According to Azhgaliev, not only the main team, but also youth, juniors and children have no ice.

“This is the main problem of our species, and of all winter sports. Everyone asks about medals, but we don’t even have winter sports bases in the country, and fans don’t know that such sports even exist,” he writes.

Ice palaces have been built in every region, but none of them are suitable for short track, even in Almaty.

“The difference is in the boards, which are installed instead of mats, and therefore traumatic for us. But in Almaty we are not given ice for the same reason that Alau – no time and money, – said the athlete.

Inventory is purchased in the quantity that is required by law.

“I would call the purchase of equipment the most painful topic for athletes, after ice. Do you remember the story of the archers in front of Tokyo? Every sport faces such stories all the time. We raise this topic all the time, but the ministry, let alone sports departments, start doing something only before the Olympic Games. Professional sports require investments, our sports are financed only minimally, basicly, only by the state. In our sport, cycling is very important and therefore we need bike racks, bicycles, power meters, a geych, with which we check whether our skates are sharpened correctly … This is the minimum that all countries have, which, by the way, we win, and what we need always promise but never buy. Our sport is cyclical, but requires attention not once every 4 years, but constantly. But every time we are waiting for the inventory, they cannot buy it for us or cannot get it on time, referring to the public procurement procedures. The international sports calendar, where our team always consistently wins places, does not stop just because we do not have equipment. As a result, our mechanic buys spare parts for skates with his own money, we have to invest ourselves in what is “not allowed” by order. Because it is necessary to perform now, and not when all the tenders have passed. This is repeated every year.”

Azhgaliyev was promised a bicycle several times by the sports department, but it is still not available, they say that it is too expensive, then he asked for at least a machine. Several times the athlete asked to help sponsors buy a bike, but no one responded.

“We talk a lot about the development of sports, but they always mean only summer sports, no one is interested in winter. I would like this to change not only for themselves, but for young people to see that if they practice, then they have a future in this sport. But now I can’t say the same about winter views,” he stressed.

Few people understand short track, and now many write that they learned about this sport only now, watching the Olympics.

“But we have been playing at the World Cups for many years, we are in the top 10 countries, all the Olympic champions, the full squad, perform everywhere, and when we take medals, in our country the law does not provide for prize money or salary supplements, such there is no regulation at all. Athletes' salaries rarely reach the average for Kazakhstan. It turns out that we win for the country, but we do not receive even a little attention. We do not have sponsorship, as in other countries, and we only rely on the state. Whether this is right or not, it’s not for me to judge, but how can you ask the results if no one needs sports between the Olympics.”

After the 2018 Olympics, Azhgaliyev was injured, he had health problems for a very long time. Because of this, the athlete was removed from the national team, and therefore each time he was treated at his own expense.

“For us, for athletes, if you get injured, then no one needs you, although an injury in big-time sports is not a rare occurrence, especially in sports like ours. This makes it scary. You devote yourself to sports all your life, but in the end you end up alone.”

According to the short tracker, in order to see progress at the next Games, we need to prepare now.

“The Olympics are over, none of us are satisfied with the result, although this is the best performance in history for our young sport. Appropriate preparation is needed now, and not when there are six months left before the Olympics, as is usually the case. We always by default pay attention to summer sports, but they always demand from winter sports as well as from them, including fans.Now, if you have a medal, they love you and then they create conditions, but in order to have a medal, you must first create conditions – starting from the base, ending with the time for training. I hope they hear me,” he concluded.

Recall that at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, Kazakhstan was left without medals. Only short trackers were able to enter the top 6. The Kazakh national team consisting of Azhgaliev, Denis Nikishi, Adil Galiakhmetov, Olga Tikhonova and Yana Khan became fifth in the mixed relay, and then Abzal finished fourth in the 500 meters. Thus, Azhgaliyev will receive $40,000 in prize money from the state budget for Beijing, and the rest of the short trackers will receive $10,000 each.