Month: September 2022

Climate Change Front and Centre of Almaty’s International Botany Conference

To mark the 90th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Institute of Botany and Phytointroduction, the Main Botanical Garden in Almaty, newly renovated by the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation, held an international scientific conference last week. In the run-up to COP27, the conference was dedicated to botanical gardens and their impact on climate change. It had a particular focus on the conservation of plants in light of the droughts and wildfires which affected the world this summer.

Almaty's Main Botanical Gardens, renovated by the Bulat Utemuraov Foundation. Photo credit: Igor Fakhurtdinov (PRNewsfoto/Bulat Utemuraov Foundation)
Almaty’s Main Botanical Gardens, renovated by the Bulat Utemuraov Foundation. Photo credit: Igor Fakhurtdinov (PRNewsfoto/Bulat Utemuraov Foundation)

“Combatting climate change is an important issue for the Foundation. All of the projects supported by the Foundation strive to be at the very forefront of ESG practices. Plant life is instrumental in the fight against climate change, and the need for research of resilient and adaptable flora has never been greater.  But unless we change our attitude to the planet soon, 40% of the world’s higher plant life is threatened with extinction this century,” – said Almaz Sharman, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation.

Scientists and academics from 12 countries explored a range of themes such as the crucial role of botanical gardens in preserving scientifically significant flora, methods for conserving species diversity ex situ and in situ, and the promotion of science literacy among young people to minimise the human factor in forest fires.

“Changing our attitude to nature was the guiding principle behind the $15 million reconstruction of the Garden in 2019. This included the construction of a new water supply as well as the cultivation of 175,000 new plants. Visitors have flocked to the Garden since its renovation, and it was delighted to welcome its millionth visitor in August 2022,” – concluded Almaz Sharman.

The Bulat Utemuratov Foundation is a multi-project foundation that is actively involved in supporting projects in the field of health, culture and education. By promoting these, the Foundation aims to make Kazakhstan a better place for people to live. In 2019, the Botanical Garden underwent extensive reconstruction work under the auspices of the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation. It is part of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan. There are nine dendrological exposition sites at the Main Botanical Garden in addition to six separate botanical collection sites and a scientific zone, where international research on the preservation of plant gene pools takes place.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1898782/Botanical_gardens.jpg

SOURCE The Bulat Utemuratov Foundation

ORIGINAL https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/climate-change-front-and-centre-of-almatys-international-botany-conference-301624999.html

Tennis-Wimbledon title down to Kazakh support, says Rybakina

Newly crowned Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina said on Tuesday that her win at the All England Club was a collective triumph that would not have been possible without the support of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation.

The Moscow-born Rybakina, who switched allegiance to Kazakhstan in 2018 to get more financial support, became the country’s first major singles champion at the weekend when she rallied to beat Tunisian third seed Ons Jabeur to lift the Wimbledon title.

“Since the moment I started to represent Kazakhstan I was just happy that I could continue playing and that it was a professional career,” Rybakina told Reuters after arriving in the capital Nur-Sultan.

“So no one knew how it was going to be. So, of course, I’m super happy that in the end everything happened in this way. I think it was a very important decision for me.

“And with all the support of the Kazakhstan Federation, with the support of (president) Bulat (Utemuratov), I think it’s our win together.”

The 23-year-old added that it was not easy to transition into a top professional after leaving Russia.

“From a junior career to the professional, it’s very difficult and not many people can make it, and especially become a very high-ranking player,” said Rybakina.Slideshow ( 4 images )

“So I think it’s very important and for me it was a very important time – so I’m really thankful and grateful for the time and opportunity I got.”

The Wimbledon triumph did not sink in until much later for Rybakina, whose muted reaction after winning the match point was in contrast to the euphoric celebrations usually expected from a champion on the manicured Centre Court.

“I didn’t really understand in the moment I finished the match that I’d won the biggest slam and biggest tournament, so I’m super happy and, for sure, it’s a different time for me now,” she said.

“So many people are waiting for me, so much attention, so it’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to try to take some time to recover, rest and prepare for my next tournaments.”

Reporting by Tamara Vaal, writing by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

SOURCE https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tennis-wimbledon-rybakina-idCAKBN2ON1CJ

Rybakina’s Wimbledon success ‘not a surprise’, says Kazakh federation president

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 9, 2022 Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina during a press conference after winning her final match against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur Joe Toth/Pool via REUTERS

Kazakhstan Tennis Federation president Bulat Utemuratov on Sunday said Elena Rybakina’s success has been a long time in the making after she won the Wimbledon final to become the country’s first Grand Slam singles champion.

Rybakina fought back from a set down to overpower favourite Ons Jabeur on Saturday and claim a 3-6 6-2 6-2 victory in her first Grand Slam final. read more

The big-serving 23-year-old, who was born in Moscow and reportedly still lives there, switched allegiance to Kazakhstan four years ago to gain more financial support.

“She was able to show her great potential and an extremely high level of play against very strong opponents,” Utemuratov said. “But it was not a surprise. Elena had been improving on a consistent basis and heading towards this type of success for some time.

“There was a period in Elena’s tennis career at the age of 18 when she considered stopping. Help from our federation at a crucial time … proved to be effective, and we are glad that we were able to give her an opportunity to achieve her dreams.

“We have some very promising young tennis players in Kazakhstan and I’m incredibly excited about both Elena’s future and the sport in our country.”

Utemuratov, who was present at Centre Court and cheering on Rybakina from her box, said he decided to travel to London after her quarter-final win over Ajla Tomljanovic as a show of support.

“I try to come and support (players) personally,” Utemuratov said. “It is a special feeling to be on the Centre Court of Wimbledon in the players’ box and to be able to actively support and cheer… The emotions today were just overwhelming.”

After her win, Rybakina made a point to highlight the support of Utemuratov.

“It’s just unbelievable. I’m super happy. I appreciate Mr. Bulat Utemuratov,” Rybakina told reporters on Saturday. “He came to watch and support me from the semis.

“He was always on the phone through the weeks, through the matches, supporting me. So I’m really, really grateful for everything.”

Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru

SOURCE https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/rybakinas-wimbledon-success-not-surprise-says-kazakh-federation-president-2022-07-10/

With a Wimbledon Title, Elena Rybakina Finally Cracks a Smile

Rybakina’s victory at Wimbledon was deeply impressive but not the outcome that most in Centre Court or on the payrolls of the All England Club were yearning for.

Elena Rybakina defeated Ons Jabeur, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, in the Wimbledon women’s singles final.
Elena Rybakina defeated Ons Jabeur, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, in the Wimbledon women’s singles final.Credit…Hannah Mckay/Reuters

By Christopher Clarey

WIMBLEDON, England — Elena Rybakina’s surprise run to the Wimbledon title — full of overwhelming serves, timely winners and underrated defense — was a thing of cruel beauty.

Poker face firmly in place, Rybakina, a 6-foot tower of power, knocked out rising stars like the Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen, former Grand Slam champions like Bianca Andreescu and Simona Halep and in Saturday’s final, the No. 2 player in the world, Ons Jabeur.

But however impressive, it was clear that this was not the outcome that most of those in the crowd or on the payrolls of the All England Club were yearning for.

The timing was all wrong, even if the 23-year-old Rybakina’s timing from the baseline was often pitch perfect.

You could sense the buzz kill on Centre Court, whose denizens roared for Jabeur from the start but greeted Rybakina and her victory, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, politely.

You could feel the letdown on Wimbledon’s player lawn, where tennis officials and a large group of Jabeur supporters, all dressed up with no title to celebrate, were well aware of the story line that might have been.

Jabeur, nicknamed the Minister of Happiness by her fellow Tunisians, is not only a sympathetic figure, but also a deeply symbolic one as an Arab and African woman succeeding at the highest reaches of a sport that aspires to be truly global.

You’re a champion for so many, @Ons_Jabeur 😊 🇹🇳#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/ArMGzlBFH0— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 9, 2022

Rybakina, ranked 23rd, plays for the vast and lightly populated nation of Kazakhstan but has never lived there for an extended period. She is a Russian who was born, raised and, until this year, based in Moscow, where her parents and many of her closest friends still reside.

Wimbledon once feted another tall, blonde Russian newcomer when Maria Sharapova won the title by surprise in 2004 at age 17. But Rybakina’s arrival comes at an awkward moment for those with Russian connections. The tournament barred all Russian and Belarusian players (and journalists) this year because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The move came after pressure from the British government led by outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has had a much worse weekend than Jabeur has had. But the ban was also put in place to deprive Russia and its leadership of the chance to use any Russian success at the tournament for propaganda.

Rybakina, who began representing Kazakhstan in 2018, was asked if her native country might try to politicize her victory.

Rybakina in her box after the match to greet family, friends and her team.
Rybakina in her box after the match to greet family, friends and her team.Credit…Julian Finney/Getty Images

“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m playing for Kazakhstan for a very, very long time. I represent it on the biggest tournaments, the Olympics, which was a dream come true. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, it’s always some news, but I cannot do anything about this.”

That is certainly true. Wimbledon, after all, has barred players who represent Russia, not players who used to represent Russia. And though Shamil Tarpischev, the longtime president of the Russian Tennis Federation, claimed “we have won Wimbledon” to a Russian state media outlet on Saturday night, that certainly rings hollow. How do you convincingly paint Rybakina’s success as a bright and shiny tale of Russian triumph when it was Russia’s lack of support for her career that ultimately caused her to switch allegiances?

Rybakina pleaded mediocre English for not understanding a question about whether she condemned the war and never responded to it. But she made her tennis allegiance clear.

“I didn’t choose where I was born,” she said. “People believed in me. Kazakhstan supported me so much. Even today, I heard so much support. I saw the flags, so I don’t know how to answer these questions.”

She is hardly the first tennis player to take the funding and amenities and choose to represent another country. (Britain has had plenty of imports, including the former Canadian star Greg Rusedski and the former Australian Johanna Konta.)

Another Russian tennis player, Yaroslava Shvedova, began representing Kazakhstan in 2008 and later won the Wimbledon women’s doubles title. She also became the only player in the Open era to complete a so-called golden set at a Grand Slam tournament, winning all 24 points of the first set against Sara Errani in a third-round victory, 6-0, 6-4, at Wimbledon.

“It was good for my career,” said Shvedova of the switch. “When I was in Russia, I was around the No. 10 player, but when I moved to Kazakhstan I was the No. 1 player. I get goose bumps thinking about it, but I knew I had to do good and work hard because I was the leader and everyone was watching me.”

Shvedova, 34, is retired and working with player development in Kazakhstan. She was at Wimbledon to support Rybakina on Saturday. So was Bulat Utemuratov, the billionaire president of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation.

“To be honest, we’ve always been underdogs, anyone coming from Eastern Europe,” said Stefano Vukov, Rybakina’s coach, who is Croatian. “We’ve always had to fight against windmills to break through. It’s not as easy as for other federations from other countries. Thank God the Kazakhstan federation has been supporting her.”

Vukov said he and Rybakina knew that the further she advanced at Wimbledon the larger her Russian roots would loom. But he said she did not feel an added burden.

“Not really because we had the same issues when she switched to Kazakhstan to play for them,” he said. “The Russians absolutely were questioning why, why, why. So flip it around, it’s the same story, just in a different shape. She’s been through it already.”

Winning Wimbledon for the first time certainly seemed like business as usual for Rybakina. At first, it barely seemed to register.

Match point secured, she lightly clenched her left fist, wiped her mouth with her wrist band, expelled a breath and sauntered forward to the net to shake the hand of a crestfallen Jabeur, then waved to the crowd with as much urgency as Queen Elizabeth waving by the window of her carriage.

“I need to teach her how to celebrate,” Jabeur said.

Rybakina, ranked 23rd, plays for the vast and lightly populated nation of Kazakhstan but has never lived there for an extended period.
Rybakina, ranked 23rd, plays for the vast and lightly populated nation of Kazakhstan but has never lived there for an extended period.Credit…Sebastien Bozon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But it should come as no surprise that Rybakina’s feelings were simply under wraps, and a couple of hours later, after she had posed with the Venus Rosewater Dish awarded to the champion, she was asked at her news conference how her parents might react to her victory when she finally got the chance to speak with them.

Rybakina has not seen them for months and has been living a nomadic life since the war began, not returning to Russia since February.

“Probably, they’re going to be super proud,” she said of her parents, beginning to tear up.

“You wanted to see emotion,” she said, fighting to regain her composure. “Kept it too long.”

It was a poignant moment, more moving, to be truthful, than anything that happened on Saturday on Centre Court, the Shakespearean scene of so many breakthroughs and breakdowns through the decades, including Jana Novotna’s crying on the shoulder of the Duchess of Kent after blowing a lead against Steffi Graf in the 1993 final.

The history, all those ghosts on the grass, can hit a player hard as they try to join the club. But Rybakina, in only her second Wimbledon and in her first Grand Slam singles final, pulled it off with aplomb. She was already wearing her purple badge as a new member of the All England Club on Saturday night. Her victory might not have been convenient to all concerned. (The Kazakhstanis would surely disagree.) But it was still a triumph: the product of hard choices and personal sacrifices, of a modified service motion that unleashed all that elastic power and of a gunslinger’s cool under duress that produced so many winners at just the right moments on a grand stage that suits her big game so well.

SOURCE https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/09/sports/tennis/wimbledon-elena-rybakina-russia.html

Born in Russia, made in Kazakhstan: Rybakina wins Wimbledon title

London (AFP) – Born in Moscow but representing Kazakhstan, Elena Rybakina was crowned Wimbledon champion on Saturday at a tournament where her Russian compatriots were all banned.

Players from Russia and Belarus were prevented from competing at the All England Club after the invasion of Ukraine — including stars such as men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev and two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka.

However, there were still plenty of Russians playing on the famous grass courts over the past two weeks who had switched allegiance to neighbouring Kazakhstan.

Rybakina, who defeated Ons Jabeur in three sets in Saturday’s final, opted to play under the Kazakh flag in 2018 when she was struggling at 175 in the world.

Four years on, the 23-year-old is Kazakhstan’s first Grand Slam champion and $2.4 million better off.

The shy, six feet tall (1.84 metre) Rybakina has grown tired, however, of fending off questions over her nationality.

“I’m playing for Kazakhstan for a long time. I’m really happy representing Kazakhstan,” the world number 23 said after seeing off former champion Simona Halep in the semi-finals.

“They believed in me. There is no more question about how I feel. It’s already a long time my journey as a Kazakh player.”

Rybakina opted not to discuss how much time she spends in Moscow, saying she trains in Slovakia and Dubai when not on tour.

Royal presentation

“So I don’t live anywhere, to be honest,” added Rybakina, whose parents live in the Russian capital.

Rybakina is the Kazakhstan number one ahead of Yulia Putintseva, ranked at 33 and a three-time quarter-finalist at the majors. Putintseva was also born in Moscow.

Kazakhstan’s top three men are also from Russia — Alexander Bublik, Dmitry Popko and Mikhail Kukushkin.

Bublik made the third round at Wimbledon this year, equalling his best run at the tournament.

Kukushkin, now 34, was one of the original border crossers, switching to Kazakhstan in 2008.

“At that time I was around 150 in the world and I was struggling,” he said.

Russian win at Wimbledon: Moscow-born Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan with the Wimbledon trophy SEBASTIEN BOZON AFP

“I was not in good shape in that moment, but I knew that I could play better, much better and I can get to the other level.

$2.5 billion fortune

“But I didn’t have any opportunity for that. Unfortunately in Russia nobody was interested in me. Kazakhstan came to me and they provided everything — practice conditions, coaches.”

The road from Russia to Kazakhstan has been facilitated by the long-standing president of the Kazakhstan tennis federation, Bulat Utemuratov.

According to Forbes, the businessman has a personal fortune of $2.5 billion.

Utemuratov was in Rybakina’s box on Saturday to see his investment paying off and witness the player receiving the trophy from the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William’s wife Kate.

On the international team level, Kazakhstan’s most successful player in the women’s Billie Jean King Cup is Galina Voskoboeva, born in Moscow.

Team captain is Yaroslava Shvedova, also a native of the Russian capital.

In the Davis Cup men’s competition Kazakhstan are ranked in the top 10, reaching the quarter-finals multiple times in recent years.

Georgia also benefited from a new recruit at Wimbledon when Natela Dzalamidze switched from Russia on the eve of the tournament to boost her dreams of taking part in the Olympics.

The 29-year-old has a Georgian father and Russian mother. Both still live in Moscow.

However, she insisted that as a holder of two passports, the switch of loyalty was already in her plans with the 2024 Olympics in Paris looming.

“I was thinking of doing it by the end of the year. It was not like I was applying for a new passport — I have had a Georgian passport for a long time,” Dzalamidze told AFP.

“But Russian players are banned and I thought ‘why do I have to lose an opportunity to compete here?’ I am 29 now. How many more years am I going to play tennis?”

Ranked at 45 in doubles by the WTA, Dzalamidze and her Serbian partner Aleksandra Krunic were defeated in the second round at Wimbledon.

© 2022 AFP

SOURCE https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220709-born-in-russia-made-in-kazakhstan-rybakina-wins-wimbledon-title

KZ’s Narxoz University Focuses on Sustainability, Gains FIBAA Accreditation

Kazakhstan
Image: Narxoz University

A leading university in Kazakhstan has unveiled a new ecological campus, as the sustainability agenda continues to take hold in emerging markets.

Narxoz University, located in Almaty, opened its campus in June following a reconstruction in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The university’s development strategy to 2025 seeks to create a modern learning environment with a focus on sustainability.

The campus transformation employed green technologies and modern architectural solutions, introducing more than 30,000 trees and a diversity of plant species to the campus territory. Campus facilities feature a power-saving lighting system that is set to provide energy savings in the amount of about 120,000 kilovolts annually.

Image: Narxoz University

The university’s main building was also renovated with environmentally friendly technologies, materials and equipment. The 30,000 sqm facility now offers more than 26 IT labs, 112 classrooms, and 115 open space work areas, in addition to innovative features such as ergonomic furniture and a model courtroom.

The transformation has enabled the university to cut down on campus-wide emissions, with carbon monoxide and other pollutant emissions reduced by 78% and 74%, respectively, according to Narxoz University President Miras Daulenov. The new campus is now one of the most eco-friendly places in Almaty.

“This is a key step in fulfilling our mission, which is to provide talented young people from Central Asia with a world-class education and to conduct research that can support changes in society and in the economy,” Daulenov said.

Image: Narxoz University

Narxoz University was ranked as the top private university in Kazakhstan by the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking in 2022. Founded in 1963, the university today offers higher education degrees in economics, law, business, marketing, finance, hospitality management, tourism, public administration and digital technologies. It is home to five schools and four research centres, including the Sustainable Kazakhstan Research Institute.

The campus reconstruction is the latest step in the university’s mission to develop into an internationally recognised institution.

In 2022, Narxoz University received accreditation from the FIBAA, a leading international quality assurance agency for higher education institutions, which allows the university’s diplomas to be recognised in Europe.

“FIBAA accreditation is a well-deserved achievement for the university’s staff and its students. Narxoz is moving forward with its strategy to gain full international recognition, earn a recognised scientific reputation and attract talent from across Central Asia and abroad,” said Narxoz University alum and leading sponsor Bulat Utemuratov.

Birger Hendriks, a Special Representative of the FIBAA, said: “ “During the online conferences that are part of the FIBAA’s accreditation procedure, the members of the international panel could see the excellent team spirit shared by Narxoz’s academic and administrative staff. Narхoz University was initially well prepared for the accreditation process, which had a positive impact on the commission’s deliberations and assessment of quality criteria in general. The university is undergoing a period of dynamic change as it aligns its management structure, teaching and learning, and research with international standards. The FIBAA believes that this optimism is an extremely positive and promising sign for the further development of the Narxoz University and congratulates Narxoz on achieving the accreditation.”

Narxoz University is a member of the European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI) and is recognised as one of the best universities in Kazakhstan, according to the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan. The university’s study programmes hold international accreditation from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

SOURCE https://neweconomy.site/kzs-narxoz-university-focuses-on-sustainability-gains-fibaa-accreditation/

Kazakhstan Junior Tennis Team Reaches Semi-Finals in Debut Appearance at the World Championship

The Kazakhstan Junior Tennis Team reached the semi-finals of the World Junior Tennis Championship Finals U14 in their debut appearance at the tournament. The three-person team of Zangar Nurlanuly, Daniel Tazabekov, and Damir Zhalgasbai, performed exceptionally by defeating several of the world’s top teams, including Italy, Argentina and Slovenia on their way to the final 4.

Bulat Utemuratov, President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, commented on the Kazakhstan Junior Team’s performance:

Bulat Utemuratov with the Kazakhstan Junior Tennis Team
Bulat Utemuratov with the Kazakhstan Junior Tennis Team

“I am delighted the team proved themselves to be real fighters, demonstrating excellent team spirit on their route to this historic achievement. Our opponents were really strong throughout the tournament, and every match demanded total concentration and commitment. 

Reaching the semi-finals demonstrates the progress tennis in Kazakhstan has made, as our young players are already sharing a stage with the very best in world tennis. I once again congratulate the entire team and wish our players every success in their future matches.”  

Timur Akkaziev, Head of the Kazakhstan Junior Team, joined Bulat Utemuratov in his support: “The team has a busy schedule ahead. Zangar Nurlanuly will play at the under-14 Tennis Europe tournament in Barcelona in August, while Daniel Tazabekov and Damir Zhalgasbai will play at Tennis Europe in Berlin and in Slovenia also this month. We are considering participating in a series of tournaments in the U.S. in December. These events will help our players gain experience and further strengthen their skills as they prepare to participate in the World Championship next year, where we hope they will achieve even better results.” 

Kazakhstan Tennis Federation has been strongly focusing in the previous years on raising junior talent that could take the country to the next level on the international tennis arena in the future. The Federation has built 38 tennis centers and 364 courts in 17 regions of the country with the strategy to continue investing into the new generation of players.

The Federation, which marks 30 years since its inception in 2022, has been also promoting the first tennis lessons for children from 5-7 years old and runs a Tennis for Under 10 project, where children participate in tournaments divided into 3 difficulty levels. The Federation then follows the top players by keeping in touch with their trainers and helping them to develop further their skills.

More information on www.ktf.kz     

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1883639/Kazakhstan_Tennis_Federation.jpg

SOURCE Kazakhstan Tennis Federation https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/kazakhstan-junior-tennis-team-reaches-semi-finals-in-debut-appearance-at-the-world-championship-811177951.html

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