Winter Universiade Kicks Off in Kazakhstani's Largest City Almaty
"2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty opens in Splendour," read the headline of the official International University Sports Federation (FISU) website on 29 January.
"For the occasion, the multi-functional arena with a seating capacity of 12,000 was converted into a magical place. From the ceiling the solar system appeared with the sun as its centrepiece. The sun being a central aspect in Kazakh mythology. Central stage on the ice rink, a platform in the shape of a petal, a symbol of life, youth and love depicting growth, prosperity and aspiration. Falling on the petal, the rays of the sun symbolized the process of converting light into the energy of life," the article describes the event and the new venue, Almaty Arena, constructed just for the Universiade.
Indeed, the show was dazzling but the enraged, by constant corruption scandals, local population showered the happening with negative comments over the social media.
Residents condemn the local authorities for keep allotting huge funds to host such international events like Universiade and EXPO 2017, while the people are struggling to survive through the economic crisis that has been ongoing for nearly four years since February 2013 devaluation crisis.
In 2013 Kazakhstan won the bid to host the international exhibition EXPO 2017, later the government ran to host the Winter Olympic Games 2022 despite the backlash from the population but lost to China.
According to Forbes Kazakhstan, the Universiade cost the nation a total $442 USD; while the EXPO 2017 will cost $1.3 billion USD. The authorities had to resort to the country's pension fund to be able to cover the costs for the upcoming event.