Reporting from Almaty, Kazakhstan – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission and the Almaty 2022 Olympic bid committee continued meetings behind closed doors Tuesday, but they proceeded without the planned appearance of Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister.
Thirty speakers from the Almaty team spoke on topics around Paralympic Games, Legal Aspects, Games Safety, Security and Medical Services, Marketing, Finance and Political and Public Support – but Prime Minister Karim Massimov, who is also Chairman of the bid committee, was not involved.
“He is in (Kazakhstan’s Capital City) Astana and can’t participate in the working commission,” Andrey Kryukov, Almaty 2022 Vice Chairman said during a press briefing.
The ruling party in Kazakhstan called a snap election earlier in the week. On Tuesday night the IOC team attended a gala dinner in their honour that the Prime Minister also missed. Kryukov said the Prime Minister will be present at the final presentation in Kuala Lumpur July 31.
In it’s financial report, Almaty told the IOC that Kazakhstan ranks 17th out of 42 countries in the Asian Pacific Region. The total GDP is $240 billion, which is a 5 percent growth over 2013, and a 5-year growth rate of 4.8 percent.
An IOC commissioned poll demonstrated public support for the bid at 75 to 78 percent, with 10 percent against
“We will reduce this to zero,” Kryukov said.
Almaty bid ambassador, singles figure skater Denis Ten provided support from an athletes perspective. Ten, born in Almaty and a bronze medalist at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, was the first Kazakh to medal at an ISU event.
“All the people I grew up were passionate about sports,” he said.
“Not much has changed since then, people love sports. The Asian Games were a tremendous success. I still remember myself skating in Astana, the arena was sold out.
“When I just started skating nothing was actually here. I used to skate in an open-air arena, Medeu, later on we got shopping malls with an ice rink, then we got real ice rinks, nowadays we have a lot of ice rinks.
“I think the Olympic Games will make the change even bigger, it will only make people more connected to sport, it will unite us as one big sports family once again.”
Currently Ten trains in California but if Almaty is successful, new figure skating facilities will be built in the Olympic City and left as a legacy.
Ten started skating at the ice rink in Medeu, also the proposed speed skating oval for the Games after a roof is installed at the iconic open-air venue. Some Almaty citizens want to preserve the current state of the arena and the bid committee is currently discussing different possibilities with the IOC including a temporary or retractable roof.
“I don’t think the roof will actually change something, it will still be Medeu but more innovative, a little more comfortable,” Ten said.
“When I just started training I think that the rink was a little bit different, right now it is way more comfortable and much nicer and I think the roof can only make it better.”
Kryukov spoke to the media about the cancellation of planned bid presentations from Almaty and Beijing at the SportAccord Convention on Sochi in April.
“In reality it is not a problem,” he said.
“We will be present there at SportAccord, our team will travel there, we’ll talk to the people there, but the presentation – I think the IOC now applied the rules and the recommendations of Agenda 2020 to reduce expenses of the bidding cities.”
The 2022 bid cities now have only two more opportunities to present to IOC Members – at a special session in Lausanne June 9 and at the final election July 31 in Kuala Lumpur.
Meetings, and the evaluation will conclude Wednesday when Evaluation Commission Chief Alexander Zhukov is scheduled to take questions from the media.