The national women’s tennis team of Kazakhstan reached the World Championship, the Billie Jean King Cup Finals which will take place in November 2023, for the second consecutive year beating a strong Polish team in Astana’s National Tennis Center by 3 matches to 1. With the support of an enthusiastic and vocal crowd, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina won her two singles matches, and Yulia Putintseva won a very close match on day one, with the Polish team winning the doubles.
The Billie Jean King Cup is the premier international tennis women’s team event, featuring some of the top ranked female players in the November finals. For this important match in Astana, the tickets were sold out a week before the Friday start. The match was played on an indoor clay court which took specialists 10 days to construct, transforming it from its original hard court.
Bulat Utemuratov, the President of the Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan, commented: “Congratulations to our National Team for winning the Billie Jean King Cup qualifying match in Astana and for reaching the final stage of the World Championship! Winning a hard-fought victory against Poland, the national team of Kazakhstan once again performed exceptionally, and moved into the top 7 in the world rankings. Along with the star players Elena Rybakina, Yulia Putintseva and Anna Danilina – the young tennis players Janel Rustemova and Aruzhan Sagandykova, as well as the already experienced Gozal Ainitdinova also greatly contributed to the success of the Kazakhstani team. Once again, I would like to congratulate everyone on their success and wish our athletes more victories and the best of luck at the upcoming World Championships.”
Mr. Utemuratov also thanked the fans for their enthusiasm, especially the 500 young tennis players from different regions of the country who came to Astana to support their national team.
The women’s team of Kazakhstan, which for the first time has made it to 7th place in world rankings, narrowly missed reaching the semi-finals last year after defeating a strong team from Great Britain and losing a very close match to Spain in the group stage.
In the tennis singles rankings, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina recently strengthened her status as one of the very best players in the world by winning her first WTA 1000 title which moved her to a WTA career high ranking of number 7.
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev congratulated Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina on her brilliant performances at the Australian Open, in Indian Wells and Miami, thanking her for her mastery and unbending will to win.
The head of state noted that the success of the representatives of Kazakhstani tennis contribute to the popularization of this sport among the younger generation.
In turn, Elena Rybakina thanked the President for his support and sincere congratulations on the moments of her victories. She assured that she would continue to make every effort to achieve success at prestigious international competitions.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that today more than 30 thousand people are engaged in tennis in the country, of which more than 10 thousand are children under 10 years old. Courts have been built in 17 regions of the country in order to enroll people in this sport on a massive scale, and the “Baby Tennis” and” Tennis Under 10” projects are being successfully implemented.
Recall that from 14 to 15 April Astana will host the Billie Jean King Cup qualifying match for the first time. The women’s tennis team of Kazakhstan will play against the team of Poland. The winner of this meeting will receive a ticket to the World Championship.
Throughout the world, April is the autism awareness month
The initiative has an important goal: to change the attitude towards people with autism spectrum disorders, to help them better integrate into society, to give them a chance for a happy and fulfilling life.
We tell how Kazakhstan joined the global campaign, what every parent needs to know about autism, and how business in our country contributes to building an inclusive society that is tolerant of special people.
According to official statistics in Kazakhstan in 2022, the diagnosis of autism was confirmed in 12,000 children. Globally, 1 in 54 children have ASD, according to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Autism is the most common developmental disorder, but there are still many myths and stigmas surrounding it.
“The most common myth concerns the origin of the disorder,” explain specialists from the Assyl Miras autism centre of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, which has been implementing the “Autism. One World for All” programme in Kazakhstan since 2015. “Many blame it on vaccination or the wrong lifestyle of parents, but today scientists are not ready to give an unambiguous answer about the reasons for the manifestation of autistic traits in a child.
One thing is known for sure: autism is not a disease that can be cured once and for all. Therefore, it is correct to use the term “autism spectrum disorder”. It includes difficulties in everyday communication and social adaptation, non-standard way of processing information from the senses and a keen interest in certain topics.”
Experts note that it is very important to diagnose the disorder as early as possible and begin to provide assistance to a child with special needs. It directly affects the extent to which it will be possible to instill in him the skills of communication and independence in order to improve the quality of life of the child and his family.
The autism awareness campaign in Kazakhstan is dedicated specifically to the topic of early diagnosis: how to recognise the first signs of a disorder in a child, where to turn for help, how to contribute to the formation of a caring attitude towards special children. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and the Citix company talk about this in a special social project on smartboards – digital street gadgets.
A “clever” widget on smartboards tells about the signs of autism – lack of eye contact with a child, avoidance of touch, lack of a child’s reaction to his name, sensitivity to extraneous sounds, and others – and encourages parents of children under 3 years to independently pass the M-Chat diagnostic test on www.asylmiras.org website. The test will allow parents to assess the risk of ASD developing in a child and understand whether it is worth contacting a pediatric neurologist or a district therapist right now for an accurate diagnosis.
The educational widget is complemented by social videos aimed at making people see children with autism first as children, see their needs, interests and dreams, and only then notice their developmental disorders.
“We hope that joint efforts will help destigmatize autism and push citizens to better understand and accept people with ASD,” say the campaign initiators. The campaign will last throughout April, widgets and videos can be seen on all 110 Citix smartboards in Almaty and Astana.
Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was founded in early 2014. The mission of the foundation is to help Kazakhstan become a better place for the life of people today and in the future by promoting the development of healthcare, education and culture. The idea of creating the fund belongs to its founder Bulat Utemuratov.
Citix works in the field of Smart City and AdTech, builds smart cities, creates and innovates for creative and technological outdoor advertising. An important focus of the company is the improvement of society in all directions, from the protection of women’s rights to the environmental protection projects. Source:
This is the second Assyl Miras centre in the capital.
On the eve of the World Autism Awareness Day, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation opened a new centre for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Astana.
This centre became the second in the capital and already the twelfth in the Assyl Miras network in Kazakhstan. It is located at the address: 13 Dostyk Street, Residential Complex “Nursaya 2”.
The first Assyl Miras centre in Astana was opened by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation in 2015. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 children with autistic disorders have received free correctional assistance here. Behind the dry numbers of statistics are stories of support, hope and new opportunities, the Foundation noted.
“My child first came to Assyl Miras at the age of three for the Jasper speech skills development programme. All three months were a period of intensive study for both of us – my son practiced new skills, and I learned to understand him. I was present at every lesson; additionally, seminars were held for us, parents, and then we went home and repeated what we had learned. The son did not show aggression, but he was withdrawn and did not know how to express his desires. Our teacher showed how to use the cards and give hints, and he began to communicate with all relatives with pleasure. The life of the whole family has become much easier. Now my Ramil is seven years old, he is in the first grade of a comprehensive school. We continue to work hard, but the progress already made gives confidence in success,” Natalia Melnikova shared.
Autism awareness and diagnostic tools are improving every year, which is reflected in the official statistics on the prevalence of ASD in the world and in Kazakhstan. According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, signs of ASD are encountered in one in 54 children. In Kazakhstan, in 2022, according to the National Scientific and Practical Centre, autism was confirmed in 12,000 children.
Early diagnosis and correction significantly increase the chances of children for successful socialisation. In Astana, according to the education department, 2,500 children have been diagnosed with ASD. More than 300 children are on the waiting list for receiving the services of the Assyl Miras Centre, the waiting period is about a year.
Responding to a public request, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, with the support of the Astana Akimat (mayor’s office), decided to open a second autism centre in the capital.
“It is very important for us to create conditions for children with special needs. I know how parents are waiting for the opening of such centres. Another Assyl Miras centre will allow even more children to get access to advanced diagnostic and correction methods. For greater coverage of children with medical care, we are carrying out systematic work to expand the network of rehabilitation centres. This year, we plan to open inclusion support rooms in a number of schools and kindergartens, and we also plan to open social facilities, including rehabilitation centres, on the ground floors of new residential complexes,” said Zhenis Kassymbek, Akim (mayor) of the capital.
He noted that he also visited kindergarten No. 89, which is also attended by children with special needs, since the socialisation of children is important. Inclusion support rooms are open there.
“Parents raised questions about the training of tutors, we will deal with this area. Rehabilitation centres provide means for both maintaining the health of children and seeing positive results, socialising them,” added the Akim. The new centre will allow covering about 900 children a year. Classes will be held according to the standards of the “Autism. One World for All” programme in six intervention programmes. 10 classrooms are already fully equipped with furniture, inventory and teaching aids. Taking into account the experience of other centres, the number of rooms for the most popular programmes was increased – three rooms each were prepared for classes with children under the “Early Support” and “Development of Study Skills” programmes.
“We have already begun recruiting teachers for the centre. In total, the centre will employ 36 specialists, each of whom has a specialised education and work experience. However, each teacher will undergo a specialised three-week training under our programme developed on the basis of the best world practices; and then supervision will be held regularly throughout the year to keep and maintain the uniform quality standards of the Assyl Miras centres, so that every child, regardless of where they live, has the opportunity to receive professional support,” said Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.
Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation has been implementing the “Autism. One World for All” programme since 2015. During this time, the Assyl Miras intervention programmes have been completed by more than 14,000 children throughout Kazakhstan.
The methods used comply with global standards, and the training of Assyl Miras specialists in different years was carried out by such international experts as Dr. James Partington, Dr. Connie Kasari, Dr. Seth Clark, Dr. Alexander Sorokin, Dr. Lev Tolkachev and others.
International scientists discussed innovative “phytocapture” technology in Kazakhstan
The international conference ”Nature Based Solutions to Mine Industry Waste: From Research to Practice” was held in Almaty on the initiative of the Sustainable Kazakhstan Research Institute, a part of Narxoz University, the best private university in Kazakhstan according to the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. In 2007, with the support of the Kazakh businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov, Narxoz University began a transformation process, and has attracted international experts, upgraded the academic curricula and research capacity, and reformed its corporate governance.
Brendan Duprey, Director of the Sustainable Kazakhstan Research Institute, presented the center’s latest development, “phytocapture”, a green barrier method which works by planting trees and shrubs at specific locations to capture toxic dust from industrial plants and transport. The type of vegetation and distance from the pollutant is determined by measuring air quality and using advanced computer modeling in order to prevent the maximum amount of particulate matter from entering the air. Scientists are now working on exploring the potential for broader application of the “phytocapture” technology around the world.
In 2022, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) recognized Brendan Duprey’s project as one of the best global practices. “Phytocapture” technology has already been tested at the Aksu gold mine in Kazakhstan under a commercial contract. Results showed that the technology will reduce the air pollution from one of the mine tailings by approximately 40%.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 99% of the world’s population breathes in air with levels of pollution that exceed acceptable standards. Small particulate matter contained in the air like dust, combustion products of fossil fuels, etc., penetrate human lungs, affecting the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The WHO estimates that 7 million people die each year from air pollution.
The Sustainable Kazakhstan Research Institute was established in 2019. It has been involved in the design of the new campus at Narxoz University, which is home to 30,000 newly planted trees and which uses sustainable materials and energy-saving lighting. Sustainability is part of Narxoz University’s curriculum and campus life.
The developments of the Sustainable Kazakhstan Research Institute at Narxoz University, including the “phytocapture” technology, are planned to be applied to both national and international companies in the future.
The Kazakhstan Tennis Federation is delighted to congratulate Elena Rybakina on earning herself a top-10 world ranking debut as of today. After a tough match, Elena Rybakina yielded the championship to the fifth seeded, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the final of the Australian Open with a 4:6, 6:3, 6:4 score in three sets. The tennis players spent almost 2.5 hours on the court.
“I want to say thank you to my team for the great job that we’ve done during the pre-season and over the past 3-4 years. Thank you to my coach, my family, sponsors. President of our Kazakhstan Tennis Federation […], thank you so much for the support”, Elena Rybakina said.
Bulat Utemuratov, President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, commented on Elena’s performance:
“Thank you to Elena for once again giving it her all with her impressive tennis performance and for representing the successful development of tennis in our country. Reaching the finals at the Australian Open is in itself a sign of continuous growth and quality. Throughout the course of the tournament, Elena managed to defeat the leader of women’s world tennis, Iga Swiatek, and other strong contenders from the top-20 rankings, three of which are Grand Slam winners. It is clear that Elena is feeling increasingly confident on different types of surfaces, intelligently adapting her tactics depending on her opponents, and improving her game. Hopefully, this great performance at the Australian Open will mark the start of a very successful year of play for Elena.”
This Australian Open was a historical moment for Kazakhstan, which has been heavily investing in the development of tennis in the country. This year, the Federation celebrates its 30th year anniversary. Among other areas of focus, in recent years it has been working on nurturing junior talent that could take the country to the next level on the international tennis arena in the future.
On the support for women in tennis, Bulat Utemuratov added:
“Elena’s performance at the Australian Open is also another important step for tennis in Kazakhstan, and especially the women’s game. We’re focused on growing the sport at the grassroots level, with girls in every age group performing strongly. Along with our professional tennis players and their achievements, we would also like to recognize the young female juniors who participate in ITF Juniors, ITF World Tennis Tour, ATF Juniors, Tennis Europe and other tournaments as well as in Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open).”
A few days ago, Albina Kakenova became a finalist of the Australian Open 2023 Asia-Pacific Elite 14 & Under Trophy tournament. Last year Albina finished No.1 in the Asian Under-14 rankings, winning a total of four ATF Juniors tournaments. Zhibek Kulambayeva and Gosal Ainitdinova competed in the semi-final of ITF W40 tournament in India.
In addition, three female judges from Kazakhstan served at Wimbledon for the first-time last year. One of them, Yulia Ignatchenko, became the first judge from Kazakhstan to earn the ‘Silver Badge’ of the chair umpire.
MELBOURNE, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Elena Rybakina will become the first Kazakh tennis player to enter the top 10 singles world rankings after her run to the Australian Open final on Saturday, making up somewhat for the points she missed out on in her Wimbledon triumph last summer.
But the Russian-born player said the lift would not change her.
“I don’t think tomorrow I’m going to feel different just because of the ranking now,” she told reporters.
Rybakina, who switched allegiance to Kazakhstan in 2018, was beaten 4-6 6-3 6-4 by Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the Melbourne Park final and will rise to number 10 in the world from number 25 when the rankings are updated on Monday.
Kazakhstan Tennis Federation president Bulat Utemuratov said reaching the final was a feat in itself after Rybakina defeated three Grand Slam champions along the way in Iga Swiatek, Jelena Ostapenko and Victoria Azarenka.
“It’s clear that Elena is feeling increasingly confident on different types of surfaces, intelligently adapting her tactics depending on her opponents, and improving her game,” Utemuratov said in a statement.
“Hopefully this great performance at the Australian Open will mark the start of a successful year of play for Elena.”