A Sports Festivity for Everyone

Here in Kazakhstan, they have established quite an original kind of athletic competition. The Confederation Cup, whose finals were held in Almaty on December 3-4, 2016, is a vibrant blend of entertainment and sports tournament. It has under its aegis various types of martial arts, like amateur boxing, wrestling freestyle, Greco-Roman wrestling, judo, and taekwondo. Therefore, the tournament has been intended to satisfy different tastes of general audience. Someone may enjoy a pugilists’ fight, at the same time being indifferent to wrestling.  Still, another one could find a great relish at a judo bout. So, almost everybody is gonna to be entertained. Besides, it was a big-time charity event: the admission was free.

From left to right: Askhat Zhitkeyev and Daniyar Nauryz.

Regional teams throughout Kazakhstan participated in this event of nationwide scale. Its judging was quite fair. I didn’t notice any signs of fixed results. True, a domestic competition is not as exciting as an international tournament. But, the local nature of the event provided more or less fair judging. There were not reasonable causes for corruption and bribery, permeating global athletic events. Nevertheless, here the event took pride in its world-class participants, like a judoka Yeldos Smetov and a boxer Adilbek Niyazymbetov — silver medalists of Rio-2016.

The Confederation Cup presents itself as a compromise between team sports and individual competition. Athletes fought each other one to one, but overall winners were determined on a team basis. Its entertaining appeal was not as cruel as mixed martial arts. The spectators watched the thrilling amateur competition without harmful effects of professional sports.

There were numerous honorary guests of the tournament. First of all, I should mention Olympic heroes of Kazakhstan, like a boxing champion of Rio-2016 Daniyar Yeleussinov and a judo silver medalist of Beijing-2008 Askhat Zhitkeyev. As a rule, announcers spoke only Kazakh. Thus, they paid a deep respect to the state language of our country. It is rather pitiful, when local people try to speak broken English or talk glibly in Russian — the state language of an aggressive neighbor.  The prize money were indicated in local currency, tenge. Its total dollar equivalent was about $350,000. Thus, they made an effort to bolster rather failing status of the currency.

The Confederation Cup is a brainchild of Timur Kulibayev — president of the National Olympic Committee of Kazakhstan. Thank you very much, Mr. Kulibayev, for your energetic efforts, aimed at the further development of Kazakh sports!

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