After the groundbreaking OSCE Summit last December, Kazakhstan is set to showcase its organizational ability and world famous hospitality at the 7th Winter Asian Games, also known as Asiad, which started on 30 January 2011.
Speaking at an opening ceremony at brand new Astana-Arena sports facility, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that “for Asia, which represents half of humankind, this tournament is the biggest sports festivity this year. Kazakhstan has been the first among the CIS countries and Muslim world to host such a continental forum. This is a striking evidence of the respect for and confidence in Kazakhstan”.
Sincerely thanking the participating countries for accepting his invitation, the President opined that “Olympic games serve as bonds of friendship that ties peoples and countries”. He said he is convinced that the spirit of Asiad would bring us together on the native Kazakh land, as “sports does not recognize boundaries and unites peoples”.
The Asian Games will be conducted simultaneously in Astana and Almaty. The motto of the Games is “Unity of Purpose is Unity of Spirit”. According to President Nazarbayev “today, the torch of the Games is ignited in the Eurasian cradle of peace and harmony. Here, new world class sports facilities have been built. One of them is Astana-Arena Stadium, which can accommodate 30 thousand people… This year, for the first time in the history of Winter Asian Games, the number of participating countries has reached twenty seven. More than a thousand athletes will compete for medals in 11 sports” (skating, figure skating, ice hockey, bandy, cross-country skiing, biathlon, ski jumping, alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, short track speed skating, ski orienteering).
With the Winter Asian Games, Kazakhstan has begun events as part of celebrations of the 20 anniversary of independence of Kazakhstan.
At the ceremony, the flag of the Olympic Council of Asia was hoisted. Famous athletes and coaches such as Serik Konakbayev, Kenzhe Sarsekenova, Lyudmina Prokasheva, Vladimir Smirnov, Aliya Yussupova and Hwan Mai carried the flag.
The athletes and jury pronounced solemn oaths before the banner of the OCA was raised.
President of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, stated that “Kazakhstan is a very respectful member of the international sports community. The Olympic Council of Asia congratulates President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Government of Kazakhstan, mayors and people of Astana and Almaty”.
Kazakhstan has rich tradition of hosting important sports events. Chimbulk and Medeo used to be famous venues for many winter championships of the USSR, as well as some international events. Successful hosting of the Winter Asiad will increase Kazakhstan’s chances to win the bid for 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
VII Asian Winter Games Facts
5th January 2006 – Chosen as a hosting country in Kuwait (Home of the Olympic Committee of Asia); USD 726 million included in 2008 budget for construction and renovation of sports facilities; 27 participating Countries69 sets of medals11 sports 30 January 2011 – Opening in Astana-Arena Stadium 6 February 2011 – Closing in Almaty Baluan Sholak Sport and Culture PalaceMotto: Unity of Purpose is Unity of Spirit Mascot: Irbi
Asian Games Mascot 2011
This welcoming and happy IRBI is the official representative and the main hero of the ASIAD 2011. Irbi, shortened from Irbis, is another name used for snow leopards. So how Irbi, the snow leopard became the mascot of the 7th Asian Winter Games 2011?
It’s simple. Firstly, snow leopards live in the rocky mountains of Central and South Asia. And Kazakhstan is in Central Asia.
Secondly, the Snow Leopard is an endangered species.
And the snow leopards, aka Bars, aka Irbis are the symbol of power, courage and justice. As simple as that.
Asian Winter Games 2011 – Participating Countries
1.Afghanistan; 2.Bahrain; 3.China; 4.Hong Kong; 5.India; 6.Iran; 7.Japan; 8.Kazakhstan; 9.Kuwait; 10.Kyrgyzstan; 11.Jordan; 12.Lebanon; 13.Malaysia; 14.Mongolia; 15.Nepal; 16.North Korea; 17.Palestine; 18.Pakistan; 19.Philippines; 20.Qatar; 21.Singapore; 22.South Korea; 23.Chinese Taipei; 24.Tajikistan; 25.Thailand; 26.United Arab Emirates; 27.Uzbekistan.
List of Asian Winter Games
Year Games Host 1st place 2nd place 3rd place 1986 I Sapporo Japan (29) China (4) South Korea (1) 1990 II Sapporo Japan (18) China (9) South Korea (6) 1996 III Harbin China (15) Kazakhstan (14) Japan (8) 1999 IV Gangwon China (15) South Korea (11) Kazakhstan (10) 2003 V Aomori Japan (27) South Korea (10) China (9) 2007 VI Changchun China (19) Japan (13) South Korea (9) 2011 VII Astana-Almaty News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Nurgali Arystanov
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 115; Fax: 202-232-5845