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Alexander Koreshkov - capitan of Kazakhi ice-hockey national team

Kazakhstanis consistently perform well in Olympic competitions, especially in boxing. This has brought some attention to the Central Asian nation, and increased awareness of its existence in the Western world.

Contents

Athletics

Dmitriy Karpov is a distinguished decathlete, taking bronze in both the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2003 and 2007 World Athletics Championships.

Boxing

Kazakh boxers are generally well known in the world. In last 3 Olympic games their performance was assessed as one of the best and they had more medals than any countries in the world except Cuba and Russia (in all three games). In 1996 and 2004 two Kazakh boxers (Vasiliy Jirov in 1996 and Bakhtiyar Artayev in 2004) were recognized as the best boxers for their techniques with the Val Barker trophy, awarded to the best boxer of the tournament.

Kazakh boxers performed well in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Two boxers, Bekzat Sattarkhanov and Yermakhan Ibraimov, earned gold medals. Another two boxers, Bulat Jumadilov and Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov, earned silver medals.

It should also be noted that Oleg Maskaev, born in Zhambyl, representing Russia, was the WBC Heavyweight Champion after knocking out Hasim Rahman on August 12, 2006.

Cross-country skiing

The skier Vladimir Smirnov won seven medals in total in the 1988, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics, including a gold in the 50 km competition in 1994. He also won 11 medals in total in World Championships from 1987 to 1995, including four gold medals. During the first part of his active career he represented the Soviet Union, in the later part Kazakhstan.

Cycling

Assan Bazayev, Astana cycling team

Alexander Vinokourov represented Kazakhstan in his cycling career for the Astana Team. Vinokourov had an impressive cycling record finishing third overall in the 2003 Tour de France. Vinokourov finished 5th in the 2005 Tour de France, while two other young Kazakhstanis, Andrej Kashechkin and Maksim Iglinskiy, finished 19th and 37th, respectively. In 2006 Vinokourov's team became known as Astana after a drug doping scandal forced his team Liberty Seguros from the 2006 Tour de France. Vinokourov helped form a new team funded by a conglomeration of Kazakhstan businesses and adopted the color of the Kazakh flag for its uniforms. That same year, Vinokourov and Kashechkin took first and third places in general classification at Vuelta a Espana '06 in Spain.

In September 2006, Vino won the 61st Vuelta a España by attacking Alejandro Valverde in dramatic fashion with 23km to go in Stage 17. He then held on to his lead over the next four stages, including the final individual time trial to win the Vuelta. Vinokourov and Kashechkin would go on in 2007 to form a new team, backed by the same sponsors as their team from 2006 but with its own lineage. This team is also known as Astana.

Another famous professional cyclist, Andrei Kivilev, died after a crash in the 2003 edition of the Paris-Nice race.

Football

Football is the most popular sport in Kazakhstan. The Football Federation of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстанның Футбол Федерациясы, Qazaqstannıñ fwtbol federacïyası) is the sport's national governing body. The FFK organises the men's, women's and futsal national teams.

Ice hockey

The Kazakhstani national ice hockey team has competed in ice hockey in the 1998 and 2006 Winter Olympics as well as in the 2006 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships. Kazakhstan has 7 teams. The teams are Kaztsink-Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhmys Satpaev, Gornyak Rudnyi, Barys Astana, Irtysh Pavlodar, Yenbek Almaty, Sary-Arka Karagandy. Most teams also play in Russian hockey leagues. Top Kazakhstani ice hockey players include Nik Antropov and Evgeni Nabokov. Barys Astana is the main domestic kazakhi ice hockey professional team, and having played in the Kazakh national league until the 2008-2009 season, they transferred to play in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Rhythmic gymnastics

Aliya Yussupova placed 4th in Summer Olympic Games in Athens. She has been among medal winners in several previous tournaments. Currently, she is considered to be one of the top rhythmic gymnasts in the world.

Rugby

Kazakhstan Rugby Union was founded in 1993. It develops traditions of rugby existing in Kazakhstan since 1966 when the first men's rugby team of Kazakh Soviet Republic was formed. In 2002 the national women's team became the Asian Champions for the third time. The men's team is becoming stronger and participating in major international tournament. It is now at a 32nd (out of 95) position in the IRB World Rankings.

Speed skating

The Medeo speed-skating rink near Almaty is one of the foremost in the world, and has seen many world records in all speed skating distances.

References

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