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Almaty ready for 2017 Winter Games: Erlan Idrissov

(London Post – PR) Erlan Idrissov Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan during the Almaty 2022 presentation on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur said in his speech:

As you know, we have been preparing for this moment, and our second bid for the Winter Games, for fifteen years.

Our bid is based upon three major principles:

One – Enhancing the athletes experience at the Winter Games;

Two – Hosting the Winter Games with financial responsibility; and

Three – assuring that we have real, long-term sustainable legacies that showcase what a Winter Games can achieve for a city like Almaty.

To achieve these goals we have to convince you that we are worthy of this great honor.

To do that, we would like to share our Eight Reasons to Believe in Almaty 2022:

Reason Number One: Almaty offers the best experience for the Movement’s most important stakeholders: the athletes.

Since Lausanne, we’ve heard repeatedly from federations that our real winter weather is perfect for the competitions, and our compact plan is one of the best in over thirty years.

This is very encouraging for us and we would like to say “thank you” for your guidance, as well as for the kind words.

All thirteen of our venues are in two zones – the City Zone and the Mountain Zone – and all are within a thirty kilometre radius of the Olympic Village.

The maximum travel time to any venue is only forty-five minutes, and ninety percent of the athletes will have a travel time of less than thirty minutes.

This is not some contrived or artificial concept of convenience – it is a fact.

We planned it this way so that athletes will be more relaxed, more refreshed and better prepared for the greatest competition of their lives. You will be relaxed and rested, too.

Reason Number Two: Almaty is the most sustainable Winter Games bid in over 30 years.

Seventy percent of our venues already exist, and eighty percent will exist by 2017.

This means we only need to build two additional venues…that’s right – only two!

When is the last time you heard that from a Winter Games bid…?

And again – that is, a fact.

Reason Number Three: Kazakhstan’s economy is sound. There is zero financial risk.

Our OCOG budget is only one-point-seven billion US dollars and our Non-OCOG budget is only four-point-five billion.

Our National fund has a current balance of seventy-five billion dollars. And again, as our friends from Tokyo 2020 said to you in Buenos Aires, “that’s cash in the bank…” ready for the Games.

We want to help the IOC show the world that a country does not have to be a superpower, or spend tens of billions of dollars, to host the Winter Games.

Reason Number Four: Kazakhstan has significant Winter Sports hosting experience.

We have hosted numerous world cups and championships, the Asian Winter Games and soon the 2017 Winter. We know winter sport because we live in a winter sports town.

Reason Number Five: Almaty is a return to a responsible Winter Games concept.

It is a win-win for everyone in this room because our budget is prudent, our weather is perfect and our compact venue plan is directly linked to our city’s needs.

Reason Number Six: Almaty is a true winter sports city.

Why is this important?

First and foremost it is crucial for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes to have ideal competitive conditions during both events. We can deliver that – Even in March we have plenty of snow.

This is important because there are fewer cities in the world capable of hosting an Olympic Winter Games.

But it is also important for the Games ambience. The television broadcast from Almaty will have breath-taking scenes of beautiful mountains full of fresh snow to frame the Games and refresh the brand.

Reason Number Seven: There is really no other way to put this: Almaty is a fun place to be.

We are an open, secular and tolerant society – and we like to have fun.

Forty percent of Almaty’s population is under the age of 24; so, you can imagine the diversity of entertainment options in our city – even for people my age, too!

Reason Number Eight is our final reason to believe in Almaty 2022.

And it is a reason that is truly in your hands; it is the concept of “Olympic Legacy”.

As guardians of the Olympic Movement, which city do you believe can truly deliver the greatest Winter Sports experience for the athletes in 2022?

And, as guardians of the Olympic Movement, where do you believe Olympism will be best maximized for sport, and societal progress in 2022?

We realize these are difficult questions. But perhaps your own philosophy offers an answer.

The Olympic Charter states “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind…”

We humbly believe that Olympic Legacy is most impactful where it is most needed; and of course, only you can decide that.

The map behind me illustrates the power of Olympic Legacy over the years.

As you can see, Central Asia hasn’t had the chance, or the multiple chances, that other countries or parts of the world have had to realize the power of Olympism through the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games.

We understand that this is because we weren’t ready for the Games – but now, we are.

Our goal is to host a Winter Games that maximizes the athletes’ experience, demonstrates sensible spending and leaves a real and lasting Olympic Legacy for sport in Kazakhstan and the Central Asian Region.

Thank you and now let me invite Ms. Natalia Sipovich to the podium. She will give her remarks in French, so please put on your headsets if needed.


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