General Secretary of the National Cross-country Skiing Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan Andrey Nevzorov has told about the use of the winter Universiade in Almaty:
“Now it is important to popularize skiing as long as it is the health of a nation. No secret, that in the 1990-s they forgot about winter sports in our country paying more attention to summer ones. I do not know what was the cause behind it but that tendency did exist. As we have good traditions there were resounding victories and great sportsmen. While people in northern Kazakhstan are somehow acquainted with skiing those in Almaty pay less attention to it. Owing to such image making projects as the Universiade, the involvement of sponsors and philanthropists attention has been turned to skiing and it is now being supported. I believe that in the future Almaty has all the opportunities to get the popularity of skiing growing. As long as there are sports facilities, there is snow and there are skiing pistes here. What is left to do is to make them more accessible, for instance the facility in the Soldatskoye ravine. If it gets functioning at its 100% capacity, renting skis and providing services, people will go there to ski”.
It should be added that late December the Alatau skiing and biathlon complex hosted the Kazakhstan's Cross-country Skiing Cup on the back of which the Kazakhstani team to participate in the home Universiade was finalized. Thus, the women's team includes Anna Shevchenko, Irina Bykova, Anna Stoyan, Olga Mandrika, Angelika Tarasova, Valentina Ebel and Angelina Shuryga, with Daria Ryazhko, Natalia Sokolovskaya and Valeriya Tyuleneva being on the backup list. The men's team of Kazakhstan will be represented by Aleksander Malyshev, Sergey Malyshev, Olzhas Klimin, Vitaliy Pukhkalo, Ivan Luft, Konstantin Bortsov and Rinat Mukhin while Aset Dyusenov, Nail Bashmakov and Evgeniy Bondarenko will be on the backup list.
“As for the women's team, we had a time lapse due to that a number of experienced sportswomen wrapped up their carrier simultaneously. Now we have a young generation that has already been showing worthy performance at the stages of the World Cup. Among them, first of all are Anna Shevchenko, Anna Stoyan, Irina Bykova, they are the backbone of the team. The girls are already struggling to get their Olympic licences and the Universiade in Almaty will be one of the stages in their winning licenses. Holding the Universiade at home, we will be at the end of resources achieving strong performance”, said Andrey Nevzorov.
It is worth reminding that Kazakhstani skiers won five medals including two golden and three silver ones in the last winter's Universiade 2015. Two golden medals and one silver medal were acquired by Anastasiya Slonova in individual cross-country skiing events.