Athletes from Belarus and Russia want to represent Kazakhstan

"Spot naturalization" / Sample photo
"Spot naturalization" / Sample photo

According to the Kazakhstani Ministry of Sports, athletes from Belarus and Russia want to represent Kazakhstan. Samat Yergaliyev, chairman of the Committee for Physical Culture and Sports, said they are getting requests from Belarusians and Russians for places in the Olympic sports teams, reports.

Belarusian and Russian athletes have been suspended from most international competitions. The reason was the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine (Belarus is Russia's ally). Athletes who fell under these sanctions were left to perform temporarily either at the national level, at the Belarusian-Russian competitions, or to stop their athletic career altogether. Some athletes, however, are looking for an opportunity to return to international competitions by changing citizenship.

Kazakhstan generally does not accept foreign players in "priority sports, such as boxing and wrestling," Yergaliyev said. They can take on Belarusians and Russians in the sports, which "are not so well developed" ("spot naturalization"), but with the condition that they will give "a powerful impetus to the development. "So far, of those who want to come to us, there are no high-class athletes with medals of the Olympics, world championships, who have already proved themselves on the world stage," said a sports official. He gave no names of the athletes.

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