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To be flag bearer is a huge honor and responsibility - Abzal Azhgaliyev

8 February 2018 22:55 1597
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To be flag bearer is a huge honor and responsibility - Abzal Azhgaliyev

PYEONGCHANG. KAZINFORM - Kazakh short-track speed skater Abzal Azhgaliyev who clinched gold at the 2nd stage of the World Cup in Salt Lake City in 2016 was honored to be Kazakhstan's flag bearer during the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, the Republic of Korea. The athlete shared his thoughts on the upcoming PyeongChang Olympics.

Abzal, please tell us about the preparation process for the PyeongChang Olympics.

I think I'm well-prepared [for the Games]. We arrived in the ROK on February 1 and have been training ever since. Prior to that we trained in Norway. It's been a week since we have been training on the Olympic ice. I hope to achieve the results we have in mind.

Are you satisfied with the ice in PyeongChang?

Yeah, it's great. We are satisfied. The Republic of Korea attaches great importance to short-track and the ice here is very good.

Aside from speed, what other qualities are important in speed skating?

Good physique and logic. You must think how to surpass your opponents and make it to the finish line without burning out ahead of time.

Who are your main competition here in PeyongChang?

Of course, South Korean athletes - the hosts are the biggest challenge. They are at home and are supported by crowds of fans. They will do their best to win. I would also like to mention athletes from Canada, China, the Netherlands and Japan. Kazakhstan is in one group with Canada, China and the Netherlands.

During the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympic Games you will carry the flag of Kazakhstan. To what do you owe this honor?

Maybe it has something to do with the good results that I demonstrated at the World Cup. When I got a call from the National Olympic Committee telling me that I will carry the national flag during the opening ceremony, I was very surprised. They told me they trust me, wished me good luck and win a medal.

How did you feel at that moment?

My parents were the first people I shared this news. They were extremely happy. But, at that moment, I felt the pressure and honor at the same time. I will always remember that feeling.

We wish you to bring home the Olympic medal.

Thank you! It is a dream of every athlete to win a medal for his or her country. I will do my best.

Thank you for the interview!

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