Burabike: How Bulat Utemuratov bridges sports and charity

It is for the sixth running year that the Foundation of Kazakhstani businessman and philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov has been purchasing equipment for children’s medical institutions for the money donated by participants and sponsors of the major charity bike ride in the country – Burabike. Let’s see how it all started and what results have been achieved in six years.  

 

Shuchinsk-Borovoe resort zone

Traditionally Burabike is held in the Shuchinsk-Borovoe resort zone. Participants ride 30 kilometres across the Kokshetau Upland at the altitude of almost 500m and over the isthmus dividing Lakes Burabay and Bolshoe Chebachye. People call this place “Kazakhstani Switzerland”. In 1938 the Borovoe resort zone was recognized the second most beautiful among the USSR resorts at the New York International Exhibition.

Philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov has a special bond with Borovoe. During his work at the President’s Administration, he was making active efforts for the development of the Shuchinsk-Borovoe resort zone, reconstruction of the Khan Ablay’s meadow, was creating the infrastructure of tourist centres, a nursery garden for the Burabay National Park and a Siberian red deer breeding farm. Thanks to Bulat Utemuratov, as long ago as 2012 the first five-star hotel Rixos Borovoe was opened in the Shuchinsk-Borovoe resort zone, and in 2013 the first mass sports event Burabike came up which was designed to attract attention to this tourist destination and to bear an important charity function. The bike ride was organised by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and Rixos Borovoe.

Burabike participants

For the six years, participants of the charity bike ride in Burabay included celebrities of various levels: politicians, sportsmen, prominent businessmen, public figures, but most importantly – caring and sportive people of Kazakhstan. The number of participants has increased eight times in these six years: if in 2013 there were 130 cyclists who covered the route, then in August 2018 as many as 2,300 people registered for the event, among them 841 – for the distance of 30 kilometres. The organisers even had to close the registration ahead the schedule because they registered the maximum possible number of participants.    

In 2018, the event initiator, Bulat Utemuratov, took the ride to support the charity initiative. He was accompanied by Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, Chairman of the Central Election Committee Berik Imashev, First Vice President of the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation – businessman Rayimbek Batalov, New Zealand Honorary Consul in Kazakhstan – entrepreneur Nurlan Smagulov, and Chairman of the Board of the Development Bank of Kazakhstan (DBK) Bolat Zhamishev.

The bike ride of 2018 was led by Alexey Lutsenko, the three-time champion of the Summer Asian Games in road cycling and the Astana Pro Team member. Lutsenko raced side by side with his fellow compatriot Alexander Vinokurov, the most renowned Kazakhstani bicycle racer who never misses the chance to take part in Burabike. “When they announced that I would come to Borovoe I have immediately agreed, though I have to be in Canada in a week for a race. So I am even taking a bit of the risk now, but I am very glad to be invited. It is a motivation support for me today, for the last half of the season”, – commented on his participation Alexey Lutsenko.

Burabike is supported not only by Lutsenko and Vinokurov but also by the entire Astana Pro Team. In previous years the bike ride participants included Daniyar Yeleusinov, Ilya Ilyin, Serik Sapiyev, Comedy Club stars Marina Kravets and the Chekhov’s Duet. In addition to the Astana Pro Team, Bulat Utemuratov’s initiative was supported by: Akmola Oblast Akimat, Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Verny Capital group, companies Kazzinc, Beeline Kazakhstan, Altyntau Resources, Astana Property Management, BI Group, Vinci, Turner, Deloitte, Eurasian Group, banks Kassa Nova, Forte Bank, Temir Bank, Alliance Bank. In 2017, Arystanbek Mukhamediuly noted that the charity bike ride promoted development and popularisation of cycling sports in Kazakhstan and formation of sensitivity to children who needed medical treatment.

 

What charity effectiveness did Burabike already achieve?

The main purpose of setting up Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was support and development of childhood. According to information provided by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, from 2013 through 2017 participants and sponsors of the Burabike charity ride have donated 471 mln tenge to equip children’s medical institutions, perinatal and rehabilitation centres, as well as orphanages in various regions of Kazakhstan. Contributions in 2018 amounted to over 205 mln tenge and exceeded the 2013 contributions in almost 18 times.

The bike ride organisers raise funds in three ways:

  1. Individual contributions by participants;
  2. Corporate contributions by sponsor companies;
  3. Funds received from the charity auction where the auction items are donated by sports associations and famed sportsmen.

Reports on the funds raised are published and are publicly available on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation has yet to publish the 2018 report, but the Foundation Director said in the course of the event that the bike ride has raised over 60 mln tenge at the expense of corporate contributions only.   

The 2018 auction items included:

  • boxing gloves of Gennady Golovkin with his signature;
  • Astana Pro Team exclusive bicycle;
  • rackets of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Zarina Diyas (Nadal’s racket was sold for 17 mln tenge);
  • T-shirt with Pele’s signature;
  • paintings by children studying at Assyl Miras centres;
  • special edition of “Otan Ana” album by Batyrkhan Shukenov.

For the six years of this charity bike ride, assistance was rendered to 15 children’s institutions in the Akmola and Kzylorda Oblasts. Funds raised in 2018 will allow the Foundation to expand the geography of its beneficiaries and thus the essential equipment will be sent to:

  • Merke Central District Hospital (Zhambyl Oblast)
  • Central District Hospital of Timiryazevo (North Kazakhstan Oblast);
  • Maternity Home in Panfilovo village;
  • Alakol Central District Hospital (Almaty Oblast);
  • Agadyr Rural Hospital (Karaganda Oblast).

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