by Yelena Druzhkova, Asia Development Manager
A grand achievement and a big moment in Kazakh table tennis history, the National Table Tennis Centre meets the best international standards featuring a playing hall with a capacity of up to 18 tables!
The new centre also boasts a practise hall with nine tables, a set of exercise equipment, a medical office, a conference room, in addition to professional flooring and lighting. Covering a total area of 4500 square metres, the centre allows for the staging of both national and international tournaments, as well as training camps.
Construction of the centre was made possible thanks to the support of the President of the Table Tennis Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the sponsors (Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), Kazakhmys Corporation LLC, Kazzinc, ADD Invest Properties LLP and the Akimat of Karaganda Region.
Amongst those in attendance at the centre’s official opening was the country’s President, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev:
“I am happy to be here today to share in this important event. It is a nice palace, all conditions have been met for players. Here you cannot only train, but also host international competitions. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Daniyar Abulgazin, President of the Table Tennis Federation, Mr. Zhenis Kassymbek, Akim of Karaganda Region, and Mrs. Elmira Aliyeva, Coach of the Kazakhstan National Team. I believe that in the future our children will definitely achieve victory. The more you train, the more you will succeed” – Mr. Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, president of Kazakhstan.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev formerly led the Table Tennis Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan as its President for 13 years, and his contribution to the development of Kazakh table tennis has been invaluable. He left his post at the federation before assuming his new role as President of Kazakhstan – the national federation has since been placed into the reliable hands of Daniyar Abulgazin, who has been continuing to strengthen the development of table tennis in the country.
The Kazakh federation focuses on the popularisation and promotion of table tennis in all regions of the country and at all levels. One of its main targets is to support the development of regional associations, providing equipment, and education to local coaches by organising ITTF coaching courses, to improve the level of play in Kazakhstan and ensure the country’s participation in world and regional tournaments. Some young local talents are already starting to become recognised on the world stage.
Kazakhstan is known globally as a sport loving country which is proud of its athletes and has experience hosting different international sports competitions. As such, hosting the 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals and the 2017 ITTF Star Awards in Astana proved a great success. For the first time ever, the Kazakh table tennis professionals, enthusiasts and fans welcomed the stars to their home.
The ITTF Grand Finals, a major global event, gave the impulse for further development in Kazakhstan. New permanent table tennis halls were opened in 12 cities across the country, which opened up further opportunities to host national championships for various age categories. Further international tournament exposure has also been made possible, particularly enabling players from neighbouring countries such as Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.
In order to professionalise events, the federation has begun to educate umpires and referees by organising educational practical sessions – this resulted in National Umpires sitting for the 2020 International Umpire exam which all successfully passed.
Encouraging development within the country’s sporting set up, the national federation continues to professionalise and strengthen its position in the international table tennis society, while maintaining a positive outlook that greater days lie ahead!