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Almaty 'qualified' to host 2022 Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee says Kazakhstan's business capital Almaty is a "qualified candidate" to host the 2022 winter Games.
Kazakhstan's business capital Almaty is well-positioned to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the head of the Games' evaluation team has said, despite the economic problems engulfing the oil-dependent Central Asian state, refers to

The International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission chief Alexander Zhukov on Wednesday refused to be drawn on comparisons with the only other bidder for the games, Beijing, but called Almaty a "qualified candidate".

The commission's visit comes two days after Kazakhstan's ruling party, chaired by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, called for early elections that could give the government a mandate to respond to what it called "a new wave of financial and economic crisis spreading across the world".

Prices for crude oil, Kazakhstan's main export, have roughly halved since Almaty became the first city to lodge a bid for the 2022 games in August 2013, triggering concerns that the Games will weigh heavily on the national budget.

Zhukov, a former Russian deputy prime minister who chaired Russia's Olympic Committee for the $US51 billion ($A65 billion) Games in Sochi in 2014, said the Games should be able to turn a profit for Kazakhstan.

"We can't speak about the Olympic Games as a project that takes away money that could be used differently for social needs," he said.

Hosting the Games would "help the city fulfil its full potential", he added.

So far officials in the Central Asian country have argued that the event can be held at an affordable cost, in line with new IOC recommendations that stress sustainability.

The host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics will be announced on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

February 19 2015, 01:40

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