The Asian Games is certainly not the first grand sports event to be used to build the image of a country. No one was surprised when the host of the Guangzhou Games took the opportunity to enhance China’s image and spotlight its overall strengths. Meanwhile, the Games offer a window for every participating country to showcase their respective elite cultures while enhancing friendship with other nations.
Prior to the Guangzhou Asian Games, China Pictorial interviewed some foreign diplomats in Beijing and Guangzhou, who shared with us their passion for the Games.
Kazakhstan: “Not a Spectator”
On April 2, 2008, during the Beijing Olympic torch relay, Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev, president of the Republic of Kazakhstan, became the first torch bearer to carry it beyond China’s mainland after it first arrived in Beijing. A self-proclaimed sports enthusiast, Nazarbayev is fully aware of what sports can mean to a nation. “Sport is one of the major means to promote the image of a country in international affairs,” he asserted.
Ikram Adyrbekov, Kazakhstan’s ambassador to China, agrees with the president. He believes that the Asian Games help bridge Asian countries with abundant cultural resources. Every culture needs respect and recognition for the sake of continental peace and understanding. Therefore, the Asian Games serve as a platform to display the diversity of the cultures of Asian countries.
“Kazakhstan has never been a spectator at the Asian Games or any other Asian competition,” Adyrbekov remarked. “We’ve always been actively participating, fighting to win, and showcasing the spirit of our nation.”
As a sports power, Kazakhstan prepared to perform well as usual in Guangzhou. Coincidently, the country is looking forward to its inaugural hosting of the Winter Asian Games, which will commence soon after the Guangzhou Asian Games are completed.
The ambassador was full of confidence: “The Winter Games will showcase our nation’s leading position in different sectors of the world and affirm our achievements.”