Boxing champion Serik Sapiyev spearheads Kazakhstan's dream to host Summer Olympics
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM - It was a blessing in disguise for Kazakhstan when it lost the 2022 Winter Olympics bid to Beijing. Today, the people of Kazakhstan are not only happy to have saved precious money but the two-vote loss has rekindled the country's hopes of hosting the more popular Summer Olympics in future, Kazinform has learnt from AIPS.
The Olympic dream Serik Sapiyev is the Chairman of the Committee for Sport and Physical Education of the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan and he informed a group of visiting international sports journalists that it was time for his country to bid for the Summer Games.
"We can look to host 2040 Games," Sapiyev, a gold medal winner in welterweight (69 kg) at the 2012 London Olympics said. The 36-year-old legendary boxer, who has two world titles under his belt, enjoyed a successful transition into administration and now sees himself as the future Sports Minister to pursue the dream of winning the fiercely contested Summer Olympics bid.
Ambassador Sapiyev, who has a master's degree from the Kazakh Academy of Sport and Tourism, made his country proud when he was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Sport in August 2013. He is one of only three Kazakhs to win the prestigious Val Barker Trophy. He won it in 2012. Since 1936, the trophy has been awarded to the most outstanding boxer at the Olympic Games. Only 19 boxers have been honoured with this trophy and three are from Kazakhstan; Vassiliy Jirov (1996 Atlanta), Bakhtiyar Artayev (2004 Athens) and Sapiyev (2012 London).
Boxing secret? Kazakhstan won the welterweight gold at the Rio Olympics through Daniyar Yeleussinov, which further highlights the Central Asian country's gold medal-winning potential in boxing. So what made Sapiyev an Olympic champion? Was it his single-minded pursuit or the system that is in place in his country? Sapiyev, who had worked as a coach and a sports director at the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation, said during his time there was no infrastructure available as it is today.
"I had the passion and my coach Alexander Strelnikov, a former USSR Olympic boxing coach, guided me to success. We are very strong in boxing and wrestling. We have been winning Olympic medals in boxing regularly since 2004."
Man on a mission
When asked if being a boxer was easier than being an administrator. "Being a boxer is tough. It needed years of dedication and hard work," Sapiyev responded.
In his new role he is concentrating on developing the country's sporting potential. Different disciplines have been categorized depending on medal potential. In Kazakhstan there is an effective system in place to identify and nurture the talent. Sports schools are up and running and plans have been envisaged to establish sports colleges.
Sapiyev is a man on a mission. He set goals and achieves them one by one with his hard work, dedication and focus. This proud son of Kazakhstan looks to bring more glory to his country with his administrative acumen.
Serik Sapiyev was interviewed by Amjad Aziz Malik, Secretary General AIPS ASIA, Executive Committee Member AIPS and President of Pakistan Sports Writers Federation, who is in Nur-Sultan to cover the 2019 IIHF World Championship Division I, Group A.