Almaty upbeat despite losing Winter Olympics bid

Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:07am EDT
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By Julian Linden

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Organizers of Almaty's unsuccessful bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics vowed to push ahead with their ambitious plan to turn their city into a winter wonderland despite losing out to Beijing.

The Kazakhstan bid team's organizers had hoped that staging the Winter Olympics would put their city on the international sporting map but were adamant the former Soviet state had already achieved that just by throwing their hat in the ring.

"By bidding for the Winter Games we showed the world the amazing progress that Kazakhstan has made since its independence," said Andrey Kryukov, the vice chairman of Almaty's bid team.

"This alone is a major victory for our country."

The financial clout of oil-producing Kazakhstan has already enabled it to stage the Asian Winter Games and it is preparing to host the Winter Universiade in 2017.

Almaty sees sport not only as a way to promote the country but also to develop businesses beyond the energy sector.

"Consistent with our long-term winter sports development plan, we will continue to develop our city into a winter sports hub for all of Central Asia," Kryukov told reporters.

"Our region will continue to benefit from our city's abundance of winter sports venues and we remain committed to bringing major events to our city."   Continued...

Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Karim Massimov (C) acknowledges the audience during the Almaty 2022 Presentation at the 128th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur July 31, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su