Kazakhstan was once part of the Soviet Union, and did not compete in world sport under its own name until the 1990s. Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country which is why there is little doubt why the most popular sport in the country is football. Sports are one of the things that keep the people of Kazakhstan together. Football is a great way to get people together and compete on a friendly and non-violent manner. The Football Federation of Kazakhstan is the national football governing body of Kazakhstan and organizes all the national football teams of the country.
Rugby is also very popular in Kazakhstan. The country has had the tradition of rugby since 1966 and the Kazakhstan Rugby Union was established in 1933. In 2002, their national women rugby team took home the Asian Championship, which they did for the third time. Their men’s team has also been performing well and is one of the upper half teams in the IRB World Rankings.
Other sports that have been gaining popularity include ice hockey, speed skating, weightlifting and gymnastics. Medeo, a skating rink near Almaty is one of the best in the world where many speed acting records were set in the past. Their Indoor Skating Stadium in Astana was built specifically for their hosting of the 2011 Winter Games. Kazakhstan also has produced some of the most distinguished athletes in the world like Alexander Vinokourov (Cycling), Vladimir Smirnov (Cross country skiing) who took the 7 Olympic medals and 11 World Championships medals, and Dmitriy Karpov and Olga Rypakova (Athletics).
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Popular sports of Kazakhstan
- Football (Soccer), Rugby, ice hockey, speed skating, weightlifting and gymnastics
Local or Traditional Sports of Kazakhstan
- Kokpar - a version of Buzkashi in which riders on horses attempt to drag a goat carcass toward the goal.
Kazakhstan Sporting Success
- Cross country skier Vladimir Smirnov won 7 Olympic medals and 11 World Championships medals
Great athletes from Kazakhstan
- Alexander Vinokourov (Cycling)
- Vladimir Smirnov (Cross country skiing)
- Dmitriy Karpov (Decathlon)
- Olga Rypakova (Athletics)
- Elena Rybakina (Tennis)
Kazakhstan Sports trivia
- Kazakhstan is a former member of the East Asian Games. It now participates in the Central Asian Games.
Kazakhstan at major events
Past sporting events hosted in Kazakhstan
- 2011 Asian Winter Games in Astana and Almaty, Kazakhstan
- 2013 Men's World Boxing Championships in Almaty
- 2014 Women's World Boxing Championships in Astana
- 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan
Upcoming sporting events in Kazakhstan
Annual sporting events held in Kazakhstan
Sporting Facilities in Kazakhstan
- Medeo - skating rink