Kazakhstan swimmers make splash at Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre

Miha Robnik

KUCHING: The Kazakhstan national swimming team were impressed with the facilities at the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre in Petra Jaya and enjoyed their training stint here.

Thirteen swimmers including coaches have been training in Kuching since July 31 before travelling to Indonesia for the 18th Asian Games.

Olympic gold medallist Dmitry Balandin joined teammates Adil Kaskabay, Adilbek Mussin, Aibek Kamzenov, Aleksandr Varakin and Anastassiya Pchelintsev during the training.

They were accompanied by Oley Vagizov (head coach), Miha Robnik, Alexey Kazakov, Aleksandr Kudryavtsev, Stanislave Ossinskiy, Yelena Galits (team doctor) and Natalya Myagkikh (massage therapist).

Conditioning coach Robnik from Slovenia said that the conditions here, such as the weather and the pool, are most similar to Jakarta and ideal for their preparation for the Games.

“We have trained in the Gloria Sports Arena Turkey before which had the best facilities but we want a place to acclimatise with conditions just like in Indonesia,” said Robnik, who is also the group interpreter.

“We have searched for venues in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and found Kuching suitable for our training,” he added. “Also, the time difference between Kuching and Jakarta is just one hour apart and the pool here is semi-closed which is the same as in Jakarta.

“Kazakhstan is just as hot as Kuching but we do not have the humidity and that is why we prefer to train here,” he said.

“The aquatic centre here is good as it has two 50 metre pools to train and a gym but we only need the basic equipment,” said Miha, who was on his way back to his country before joining the group in Indonesia.

Miha added that he would recommend Kuching to other teams and also looked forward for another stint here.

Kazakh swimming team will be spearheaded by triple Asian Games breaststroke gold medallist Balandin.

The 23-year-old became Kazakhstan’s first-ever Olympic swimming champion when he won gold in the 200-metre two years ago in Rio.

The swimming events at the Asian Games will start on Aug 19 at GBK Aquatic Centre in Jakarta.

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