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Part 7. life at the field.

The fields currently being developed 

either by PetroKazakhstan itself or 

through joint ventures are already counted 

by the dozens. They include Kumkol 

South, South Kumkol, Kyzylkiya, Aryskum, 

Maibulak, East Kumkol, North Nuraly

South West Karabulak, Karavanchi, North 

West Kyzylkiya, Doszhan, Zhamansu, as 

well as oil field groups under licenses 1928 

and 1057. It also includes fields developed 

through the Kazgermunai and Turgai- 

Petroleum joint ventures - Kumkol North, 

East Kumkol, Akshabulak, Nuraly and 

Aksai.

But it is Kumkol, development of which 



began in 1986, became the common name 

with which people now associate the 

Kyzylorda Oblast, and gave the start to the 

region’s oil industry.



shift-40

Shift-40 is the oil workers’ village at the 

Kumkol field. It takes its name from its first 

40 residents, and today is an independent 

unit on the Kyzylorda Oblast map, covering 

45 hectares. The village, which is shielded 

from the barren steppe by an oasis of trees 

and bushes, in addition to residential and 

administrative buildings, incorporates a 

sports centre with tennis and gymnastics 

halls, training rooms, billiard room, a 

cinema and reading rooms, where both 

the day and night shift workers relax.

Bruce Anderson and Pan Xinjun, 

Directors of Production Operations, are 

responsible for managing the Kumkol 

field, which employs a total of 2,000 people 

per shift. In this issue we will be looking at 

the life and leisure activities of the oilmen 

working in the scorching heat, freezing 

cold and generally harsh conditions, to 

ensure the stable production of oil.

44 village Support Services staff (both 

shifts), headed by Patima Agimbayeva 

and Malik Duisengaliyev are responsible 

for ensuring a comfortable living for 

the resident oil field workers. “It is very 

important that PKKR employees on 

rotation away from their families do 

not feel cut off domestically and also in 

their day-to-day communication. This is 

what the support service is responsible 

for”, says the Support Services Head, 

Patima Agimbayeva. “We are responsible 

for improving of condition at rotation 

villages at the Kumkol, Aryskum and 

Kyzylkiya fields, by servicing 62 residential 

and 5 administrative buildings, 2 medical 

centres, 5 canteens, a sauna and laundry 

units, bakery and confectionary units.”

Life began here in 1986 with the start 

of Kumkol’s industrial development. 

As production facilities were built and 

infrastructure created quickly, social 

facilities for the oil workers began to be 

built. They were difficult times, and it 

was especially hard to supply building 

materials due to the off-road conditions, 

but Kumkol rotation village, founded 

by the first Yuzhneftegas Head Murat 

Salamatov, was built well.

The first thing to appear was the drill 

operators’ camp, which consisted of a 

single wooden building for 40 people 

- hence the current name, Shift-40. 

Development work advanced quickly, 

and by 1994, Kumkol already had 54 

residential and office buildings, sauna and 

laundry facilities, and employed a number 

of sport’s and administrative facilitators.

Kumkol access roads, which had been 

one of the initial major problems in 

development of the field, were also built 

quickly. Construction of the 190 km 

ПҚҚР қамтамасыз ету қызметінің қызметкерлері. 2-ші вахта / Сотрудники службы обеспечения ПККР. 2-ая вахта / 

Support Services staff. 2

nd

 shift.


52

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МҰНАЙШЫ

Kyzylorda-Kumkol road was started at the 

end of 1988, and by the start of 1994, had 

been commissioned, enabling vehicles, 

including buses, to bring workers to the 

village quickly and safely.

Gradually, new facilities began to be 

introduced to the Kumkol village to 

improve the oil workers’ standard of 

living. By the end of the 90’s, warehouses 

had been transformed into sports and 

concert halls, as well as meeting and 

presentation rooms. In 2000, the old 

canteen was overhauled to create an 

excellent sports complex with weight 

rooms, billiard hall, as well as reading 

rooms. In 2006, at the suggestion of the 

Support Service, the sports complex 

was modernised at minimal cost, 

providing the oil workers with tennis 

court and gymnastics area. 2008 saw 

the construction of a confectionary 

facility capable of producing up to 300 

kg per day, and which has earned a great 

reputation for its amazing cakes, pies, 

gingerbread and rich buns. All of this is 

for selfless oilmen’s work that pushes 

not only Kyzylorda oblast but country’s 

economics forward.  

“We are constantly modernising and 

overhauling our buildings to keep up 

with technical and sanitary standards”, 

Support Services Head M.Duisengaliyev 

notes. “And we are really proud that the 

state commissions, who visit the rotation 

villages frequently, always compare our 

facilities with those of other companies 

highly.”


Shift-40 is very green and, in the 

Kyzylorda steppe with its scorching sun 

and winds, very well looked after. “The 

Support Service staff take great pride in 

looking after the decorative and fruit 

trees, as well as the flowers planted all over 

the village”, Yessei Zhassekenov, Kumkol 

field Support Service Administrator says. 

“One of the things we are most proud of is 

the artificial lake with its many fish.”

Catering services at the Kumkol field 

have been provided for many years by 

CAC (Central Asia Catering). “Healthy 

and calorific food is extremely important 

in field conditions. We are always 

greeted with a smile and a varied menu 

in the canteen, which is always clean”, 

notes Chemical Systems Engineer Nagi 

Shakhayev. “Thanks to our canteen staff 

we get hot drinks and meals during the 

cold season and cool juices and salads 

during the hotter months. In addition, 

they are always asking for feedback on the 

catering services, and change the menu 

based on our suggestions.”

kAm and the new fields

The company has grown and since 

2000 has been developing new license 

areas such as the KAM group of fields 

(Kyzylkiya, Aryskum and Maibulak). They 

were originally discovered in 1985-1987 

(see the history of the KAM fields), with 

Kyzylkiya becoming the first field in the 

group where commercial production was 

started.


brief kumkol history

1982. 

Yuzhkazgeologiya, Kaz-

geophysics and the KazSSR Institute 

of Geology and Oil develop a 

comprehensive geological exploration 

work programme for the South-Turgai 

basin.

1983. A South-Kazakhstan oil 

exploration expedition drills its first 

deep well at Kumkol.

1984.  The Y.Kamalutdinov’s team 

generates its first oil gush.



6 June 1985. The USSR Ministry 

of  Oil issues a Decree to manage 

preparations for the development 

and commission of the Kumkol 

field in the Kazakh SSR, according 

to which KazNIPIneft and 

Yuzhgipronefteprovod begin work 

on a project to develop the Kumkol 

field through a pilot commercial 

programme.



1986.  Mangishlakneft creates a 

capital construction division - Kumkol, 

responsible for field development. 

M.G.Salamatov is appointed as a head. 

This date is considered the start of the 

industrial development of Kumkol.



June 1987. The first oil-derrick is 

erected at Kumkol.



24 December 1987. Oil and Gas 

Production Department Kumkolneft 

is created in Kyzylorda, headed by 

M.G.Salamatov.



9 May 1990. The first shipments 

of Kumkol oil are sent by the Omsk-

Shymkent pipeline to the Shymkent 

Refinery.



21 March 1991. Kumkolneft is 

reorganised to Yuzhkazneftegas.



June 1991. The first millionth tonne 

of oil is produced.



1996. Kumkol celebrates two 

significant numbers - 10 years since 

the start of its development and the 

production of the 10 millionth tonne 

of oil.

Құмкөлдегі спорт-мәдениет кешенінің ғимараты / Здание спортивно-культурного комплекса на Кумколе / 



Sports and cultural complex at Kumkol

“The story of Kumkol’s beginnings still 

amazes anyone connected to it. Only 

someone with a good imagination 

can understand what it was like in 

the early stages. A harsh life in trailers 

and yurts, working in the piercing cold 

and the scorching sun, with sand and 

salt on your lips, but with a common 

desire to uncover the inaccessible 

subsoil. All of this brought our team of 

pioneers together - at times it seemed 

that the hearts of these selfless people 

were capable of melting the subsoil 

themselves.”

Recollections of M.G.Salamatov

МҰНАЙШЫ      

маусым 2014

53

The temporary Aryskum and Kyzylkiya 



camps set up in 2000-2001 consisted of 

a single residential block for 40 and 22 

people, respectively, and were combined 

with a canteen. Each village only had two 

televisions. Yet, a good job, especially in 

difficult steppe conditions, requires good 

living conditions. So in 2006, as the fields 

grew, Director of Production Operations 

Bruce Anderson, together with Support 

Service leaders initiated major projects 

to build the 200 person Aryskum and 

50 person Kyzylkiya villages. The PKKR 

Project Group, headed by its Director 

Abdulla Abenov, drafted master plans, and 

so began expanding the villages by drilling 

wells and building modern residential 

facilities and canteens.

The KAM Field Managers Serik 

Zhumakhmetov and Hong Yanchun 

working on rotation are responsible for 

managing the KAM group, while their 

right-hand men, Yerbol Shimanov and 

Amantai Serzhanov have the position of 

KAM fields Operation Team Leaders.

The Aryskum rotation village, which 

is now the centre of the KAM fields, has 

changed significantly in the last 5 years. 

It is home to nearly 250 workers per 

shift, each of whom live in modern Czech 

quarters with a television in each room. 

By the way, it is Aryskum that currently 

produces the majority of PetroKazakhstan 

oil - on average 1,450 tonnes per day from 

an overall company daily average of 8,360 

tonnes.

2012 saw the construction and opening 



of the modern two-storey Kazhymukan 

sports complex, named in honour of the 

great Kazakh wrestler, while 2014 saw the 

opening of a new two-storey red-brick 

office building. A sauna and laundry facility 

is planned for this year, while additional 

residential facilities are currently being 

built. In addition, the field territory is also 

home to a canteen, shop and medical area.

According to the oil workers, all of the 

KAM canteens are very good, offering 

three meals a day with various salads and 

fruit. “And on public holidays, just like 

at home, we get a festive table, full of 

sweeties and delicacies. I would also like 

to especially thank company management 

and Best Services employees (editor - the 

company providing catering services at 

the Aryskum field), for allowing us to meet 

all fasting requirements during the month 

of Ramadan, by providing the proper food 

and preparing food specifically for those 

fasting”, notes Ayan Pirim, KAM 5

th

 grade 



Oil & Gas Production Operator. 

Kyzylkiya is the second largest oil 

workers’ camp and is home to 121 people. 

According to seismic exploration data 



the oil worker’s day

The oilman working day starts at 7 a.m. The first thing we do, 5 Oil & Gas 

Production Foremen, an Oil Lifting Foreman and Water Separation Unit 

Foreman, together with the Technological Group Team Leader Meirambek 

Alayakov, is meet and discuss the day’s production plan and various issues 

related, for example, to faulty machinery, and look for ways to resolve any of 

these issues. As the most important objective of the oil and gas production 

facility, where we work, is to make sure we meet oil production plans and that 

everything smooth like clockwork.

My job involves monitoring the production technological process at my site. 

It means I track all operating changes, and if levels fall, I immediately inform 

unit management so they can take the appropriate decisions. I also ensure that 

my team follow all safety and technical measures.

I’m grateful to Zhumabek Konysbayev and Adilbek Bekliyev who helped me 

building my professional carrier. They saw the potential and believed in me 

nominating to Foreman position and supporting at earlier times.

My team is responsible for 5 group units (two of which are combined with a 

mini-water separation unit) and 95 wells, all of which are steppe-based over an 

area of 16 km

2

. The distances are quite large and I inspect the facilities, like my 



colleagues, in a company vehicle. So, after the meeting I travel among the group 

units and single wells, meet with the operators and discuss with them any issues 

that may have arisen, trying to find solutions. I have 18 operators reporting to 

me. I try to take part in solving issues face to face, but some of them we solve by 

the phone.

I think that I was able to create the team I have with people who are able 

to solve any production related issue. I would say that with the people I have 

I could even go to fight the enemies! In my relations with my subordinates I 

emphasise discipline and an honest day’s work. And they never let me down. 

For example, if repair work requires shutting down a well, and it happens to be 

at lunch time, my team never asks about lunch as production issues for our team 

are the most important.

At the end of the working day, at 19:00, we have a final meeting with the Head 

of the Shop of Kumkol Production Operations, Gabit Yeszhanov, at which we 

report back on what has been done during the day.

Once work has finished, everyone spends their free time differently, some 

go to the gym, others to clubs. We have a lot of leisure options, for example, 

on national holidays we get to see musical groups. On a regular basis we have 

sports competitions, in which we are always glad to participate. Sometimes I 

play chess with my colleagues, and have twice come first at Kumkol during the 

competitions.

As far as our team is concerned, one tradition that has grown up is giving gifts 

and having tea parties on people’s birthdays. And when we are not working, we 

meet up with our families at corporate events.



Alibek Bolatbayev, 

Oil & Gas production Foreman, Kumkol 

In 1992, Alibek graduated from the Kazakh Polytechnical Institute named 

after V.I. Lenin in oil and gas field development and operation specialty. 

Immediately after completing his studies, Alibek started work as a 5

th

 grade 


Oil & Gas Production Operator at Yuzhneftegas Oil & Gas Production 

Facility, while in 2003 he transferred to as Water Separation Unit Operator. 

In 2004, Alibek was appointed Oil & Gas Production Foreman. In 2010, 

he received the PKKR Best Employee award, and 2 years later - Silver 

President’s Award-2012.


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МҰНАЙШЫ

and wells drilled, Kyzylkiya extends 

from south-east part to the north-

west direction of Kolzhan LLP license 

territory, further are the new West 

Karabulak and Karabulak fields. A new 

residential camp with a canteen was built 

in 2010 at Kyzylkiya for those working 

at Kyzylkiya, West Karabulak and North 

West Kyzylkiya. And in 2012 was built 

new additional residential complex for 

36 people with a canteen. In 2014, a new 

office for Kyzylkiya technical staff was 

already built.

At Maibulak the residential facilities 

including Group-4 posts, are home to and 

the work place for 30 shift workers.

New perspective fields are actively 

being developed to improve the standard 

of living and working conditions of oil 

workers. “In 2013, a new rotation village 

and canteen were built at the West Tuzkol 

field”, notes Adilbek Bekliyev, Kolzhan 

LLP Chief Engineer. “The Tuzkol village 

has great prospects as we plan to build 

two new residential buildings for 50 

places each, a 75-seats canteen, sauna 

and laundry and sports hall, as we plan to 

increase rotation camp capacity to 250 

places.” 

Also, in 2014, a new residential village 

with a canteen for 32 seats was completed 

at the South East Kyzylkiya field and which 

is now home to 30 company employees.

“Our objective is to provide comfortable 

living and leisure conditions so that 

anyone coming from work can feel like  

home, relax and get ready for the next 

working day; exercise, play tennis, or in 

other words spend their leisure time in 

comfort”, says Dennis Gubanov, Aryskum 

Camp Household Keeper.



leisure time

Working 12 hours a day, oil workers 

need to relax and gather strength, and 

one of the ways they can do that is to take 

advantage of the wonderful facilities on 

offer and take up sport.

“A lot of the people working on 

rotation not only do a great job, but 

have an active sporting life, taking part 

in competitions of all kinds”, says Public 

Relations Department member Yermekbai 

Shaimakhanov. “Probably, thanks to their 

levels of activity, the PKKR team has won 

the PetroKazakhstan Corporate Olympics 

three times in four years.”

Employees enjoy spending their free 

time in a positive manner - playing tennis, 

doing gymnastics, exercising and playing 

billiards.

“Here, at the shift, was the first time I 

picked up a racket. We have a large number 

of table tennis players, so much so that 

sometimes there are not enough tables, 

and we have to wait our turn. Hopefully, 



History of the kAm fields

kyzylkiya

Located in the Karaganda Oblast, 

40 km to the west of the Kumkol 

field and 125 km from the village of 

Zhosaly. Opened in 1986, production 

was started in 2000, and Kyzylkiya 

became the first field in the KAM 

group to produce oil, initiating the 

development of the entire group.

Aryskum

The field, which was opened in 

1985, is located in the Kyzylorda 

Oblast, 120 km to the north of the 

village of Zhosaly. Intensive field 

development work was started in 

2000. Today, Aryskum is the centre 

of the KAM fields and is home to a 

large oil workers’ camp. The field is 

also famous because in May 2004, 

the deepest well in PKKR history was 

drilled at Aryskum at 4,244 m - to 

explore deep horizons.

maibulak

Maibulak is in the Karaganda 

Oblast, 200 km to the north of the 

Zhosaly. Prospecting work was started 

in 1987 and exploration drilling - in 

1989, while wells were commissioned 

in 2000.

Құмкөлдегі Қазақстан халқының Бірлігі күнін тойлау / Празднование Дня единства народа на Кумколе / 

Celebration of the Day of Unity of Kazakhstan People at Kumkol

The pillar of my prosperity 

Syr lands gives us their oil

Their riches

From deep within their heart.

The black pearl gushes skywards,

The golden oil from under the ground 

And from the Kyzylkiya, Aryskum and 

Maibulak fields

Filling our silos.

Those who work through adversity,

Who do not stop to rest

Are the ones toiling under the beating sun 

And battling against the 

unforgiving wind.

This fertile land of Kumkol 

This land of howling wind, 

And this land of abundant oil 

These verses are dedicated to you, the oil 

worker.

These words I write for you,

So that your strength lasts forever,

Your faces are full of joy

And that you find success in your 

endeavours!

This song about oil workers written by pKKR Kazakh language 

translator Bakytzhan Abyzov, poet and member of 

the Writers’ Union of Kazakhstan, is for you!


МҰНАЙШЫ      

маусым 2014

55

the number of tables will increase, 



especially as the number of players is 

constantly increasing”, says Galymzhan 

Zhumagulov, 5

th

 Grade Compressor Units 



Machinist, Gas Operations-Kumkol.

The Support Service and Public Relations 

Departments regularly hold winter and 

summer sports competitions, in particular 

mini-football, football, volleyball, billiards, 

table tennis and chess at Kumkol and 

Aryskum, and also basketball at Kumkol. 

“We are proud of our Kazhymukan sports 

complex here at Aryskum, which enables 

us to hold a range of sports competitions 

offering valuable prizes and certificates. 

It is nice to know that PetroKazakhstan 

creates the appropriate conditions 

to support a healthy way of life”, says 

Bakytzhan Kalymbetov, Aryskum CPF 

Foreman. 

Many of the contractor employees 

living at the fields also take part in the 

competitions.

As monotonous life at the field is not 

less easy than the working hours and the 

closest settlement is 100 km away, the 

company tries to ensure full cultural life 

for its oil workers. Local Kyzylorda and 

national stars, and theatre groups come 

with concerts on all public holidays. 

Groups such as MuzArt, Zhigitter and 

KeshYou have already appeared at the 

fields along with performers such as 

Kydyrali Bolmanov, Karakat Abildina, 

Zholbarys Seifullin and many others.

The oil workers also participate in a 

number of contests organized by the 

company staff such as Miss Kumkol, 

Zhigit Sultany (editor - “The best among 

men”) and many others. In addition to 

the honour of holding the valued title, the 

winners also receive valuable prizes.

“There are always a lot of wonderful 

celebrations while we are on rotation, but 

I think they are managed to be celebrated 

just as well here as we would at home. The 

company always puts on an interesting 

programme and organises concerts 

involving national stars. We receive 

frequent visits from various theatres, 

including those of satire and comedy. At 

Nauryz, we take part in national games 

such as “Kol Kuresi” (editor - wrestling) 

and “Baganaga Ormeleu” (editor - 

climbing a column)”, says Nagashybai 

Urkinbayev, Aryskum 4

th

 grade Reservoir 



Pressure Maintenance Operator. 

Despite the long working day, the long 

way from home, family and friends, the 

winds and scorching sun, the field attracts 

oil workers - these real men and intrepid 

women. We are grateful for their work and 

wish them continuous success and good 

health!


Арысқұмдағы жаңа офис / Новый офис на Арыскуме / New office at Aryskum

Дәмді тағам мен жылы жүзді аспазшылар - Арысқұмдағы асхана / Вкусная еда и приветливые 

повара - столовая на Арыскуме / Delicious food and friendly staff - Aryskum canteen

Құмкөлдегі мини-футбол бойынша турнирдің салтанатты аяқталуы / Торжественная церемония закрытия турнира по 

мини-футболу на Кумколе / Closing ceremony of mini-football tournament at Kumkol


56

маусым 2014      



МҰНАЙШЫ

- Askhat, you were Kazakhstan’s 

first Olympic judo medal winner 

(Beijing, 2008). Please tell us about 

your way to this medal and why you 

chose judo?

- It all started when a trainer came to 

our village (editor - Askhat was born in 

Dzhansugurov village, Almaty Oblast) 

looking for children to join a judo group. 

As quite often happens, I went to take a 

look with my friends to see what kind of 

sport it was as everything about it seemed 

interesting and unusual - the kimono and 

tatami... I went to one lesson, and by the 

second one I began to like it, and after a 

while I began to learn judo.

I started to take part in oblast 

competitions, school contests and 

national events... And that is when I had 

my first and probably most memorable 

victory. At that time (1988) it was hard 

to find the suits, and we could not buy 

kimonos. And anyone who remembers 

that period, remembers that it was just 

as hard to get the material to make a 

kimono. We found a solution by removing 

the buttons from our school jackets, and 

instead of judo belts, we used our mother’s 

scarves. After that we went to Taldykurgan 

to compete in a national competition, and 

the winner was promised a real kimono! 

That was something to aim for, and that 

is when I became the owner of my first 

professional kimono.

I also remember my first Olympic Games 

- Sidney 2000, when I, being a 19-year old, 

(editor - relatively young to participate 

in Judo at the Olympics) was part of the 

national team. To be the part of it, first I won 

the Kazakhstan national championships, 

then the Asian championships, became 

one of the top five which meant I won the 

licence for the Olympics (editor - to take 

part in the Olympics a sportsman needs to 

win a license, and only one license is given 

to each country in each weight category). 

Unfortunately, I lost at that Olympics, 

but I did understand what I should be 

prepared for. I learnt that psychological 

preparedness is just as important as 

physical training.

In 2001, Askhat Shakharov and I became 

the first Kazakhstan medalists at the 

world championships in Munich, winning 

two medals. Then, after Munich I won 

another two Asian championships and a 

license to the Athens Olympics in 2004. 

In Athens I carried the flag. Even though I 

was ready physically, I was unable to stand 

psychological stress and responsibility.

In 2008, in Beijing I won a silver medal. 

2004-2008 was a really hard period for 

me, as when you are going for a medal, 

and you do not win one, whether you 

want to or not, you start to lose faith in 

yourself, and think that an Olympic medal 

is a step too far. However, I got great help 

from my trainers, relatives and friends, all 

of whom believed in me, and that gave me 

the strength and stimulus I needed to win. 

Thanks to them, I managed to take part in 

my third Olympics.



- Is there a special atmosphere at 

the Olympics?

- Yes, the scale of it and the recognition 

of the weight on your shoulders. Quite 

often, a sportsman can be ready physically, 

but starts to worry about the expectations 

of his on his shoulders, and that is when 

the nerves start. Being psychologically 

prepared is extremely important.



- When do you think a sportsman 

should retire from sport? After 

winning your Olympic medal you 

said, “I want to live a normal life.” Do 

you regret retiring?

- I gave up sport at 28, after the 2008 

Olympics. In theory, it is quite normal for 

judo players to retire at 28, but it depends 

on the sportsman, as some of them can 

still perform at 33-34 years of age. I do 

not regret retiring as sport comes with 

injuries, and the older you are the higher 

the risk. I think that everything has its 

time.


- At the end of 2010 you returned 

to sport as the male national team’s 

senior trainer. Tell us about your 

work as a trainer. Did you find it 

hard to start with?

- It is a really interesting job, and 

as a trainer you start to look at things 

completely differently, and think about 

the entire team. It is also a responsible and 

difficult job. You need to find contact so 

that the people you are training open up 

to you; you need to find that something in 

every sportsman, understand what each 

of them is capable of, and also see each of 

their strengths and weaknesses. You need 

to see not only professional advantages, 

but also feel the person’s psychological 

condition. In other words, a trainer should 

be not only a trainer, but also a friend, 

father, brother and psychologist.

I became the national judo senior 

trainer 18 months before the Olympics, 

which was a real risk for me as a trainer 

because at that moment Kazakhstan 

did not have a single license. We began 

working and the national team obtained 

all seven licenses (in all weight categories), 

but unfortunately, we did not win any 

judo medals at the London Olympics.

- How popular is judo in 

Kazakhstan? You are currently the 

director for the development of 

judo; how do you see it developing?

- Our objective is to guarantee that 

judo develops in Kazakhstan, that it 

becomes popular and becomes accessible 

to as many people as possible. We work 

closely with the national team, conduct 



sPoRtInG FAmIlY

one of the kazakhstan’s most famous sporting families - olympic judo silver medallist 

Askhat zhitkeyev and celebrated kazakhstan volleyball player Yelena Pavlova - share 

in this interview the secrets of their sporting and family lives.

Қазақстанның ең спорттық жұбы / Самая спортивная 

пара Казахстана / The most sporting couple in Kazakhstan


МҰНАЙШЫ      

маусым 2014

57

vocational seminars for trainers and 



children’s master classes.

Judo is unbelievably popular across 

the world - at the London Olympics, 

it was the 4

th

 most popular sport, with 



202 countries having their own judo 

federation. Judo became popular in 

Kazakhstan after we began to win at 

major tournaments - me at the Olympics 

and Maxim Rakov, who became world 

champion. People started to believe that 

they could win medals. We have both a 

male and female national team, along 

with junior and youth teams, and they 

are growing fast. For example, Atyrau 

recently hosted a youth tournament 

in which 600 children from all over 

Kazakhstan took part, and each of them 

were selected to take part in their own 

particular region. The extent of the 

popularity of judo really does please me.



- What has judo taught you?

- Judo is not just a sport, but also a 

whole philosophy of life. It was invented 

in Japan at the end of the 19

th

 century, 



translates as “the gentle way”, and is based 

on principles of respect, mutual help 

and the best combination of the body 

and spirit. Judo teaches you discipline, 

perseverance, self-control, and something 

that is unusual in other sports - etiquette 

and a realisation of the relationship 

between success and the effort required to 

achieve that success. Judo is one of those 

sports that can help you reach heights 

in other areas of your life thanks to the 

psychological qualities it teaches you. And 

of course, it is very important that trainers 

are able to pass on the essence of judo to 

their pupils.

 

- Based on your experience as a 



professional and trainer, what do 

you think is the best time for a child 

to take up judo? What do parents 

need to know when deciding on judo 

for their child?

- I think the best age is 10-11, but the 

child should already be familiar with 

general exercise such as gymnastics 

or swimming, so that they are ready 

physically. As in any other type of sport, 

to ensure your child does not give up 

after one or two lessons, you need to find 

the right trainer, one who can find your 

child’s potential, that special something 

and give right motivation.

- Of those current judo players, 

who has a chance of medal at the 

2016 Olympics in Rio?

- Pre-Olympic selection started in May, 

and the competition for places will be 

fierce, as we need to be in the top 22 in the 

world. We have a lot of good candidates 

at each weight, and all of them could win. 

I think that we will have representatives 

in all seven weight categories, but the 

battle for medals will be tough, as judo 

is becoming more and more popular 

with each Olympics, and competition is 

becoming harder.



- Yelena, you were the captain of 

the Kazakhstan ladies’ volleyball 

team. Can you tell us about your 

sporting career?

- My mother played volleyball and won 

gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. I think 

I take after my mother and have followed 

in her footsteps. In my sporting career, I 

have been lucky enough to play a lot and 

even work in different countries. I played 

for five years in France, where I was twice 

named best player and best forward in the 

French league. In 2004-2006, I played for 

the Spanish club Tenerife, and we twice 

won the Spanish league and the Queen’s 

Cup, as well as the Super Cup. Then I played 

in Switzerland where my team came first 

in the national league and also won the 

Асхат пен Ленаның балалары: Расул мен Тамирис / Дети Асхата и Лены: Расул и Тамирис /

Askhat and Yelena’s kids: Rasul and Tamiris

Жеңістің лебі / Вкус победы / Taste of victory



Askhat zhitkeyev 

Born on 13 April 1981. Kazakhstan 

judo player, silver medallist in the 

100 kg category at the 2008 Olympic 

Games in Beijing. Multiple Kazakhstan 

champion. Honourable international 

class master of sport in judo.


58

маусым 2014      



МҰНАЙШЫ

Swiss Cup. In 2007-2008, I played for the 

Japanese team Hisamicu Springs and was 

named best player and best forward in the 

Japanese league.

- Your sporting career and the 

geography of the countries where 

you have worked are impressive! Do 

you have any funny stories?

- Yes, a lot of things have happened. 

Sport is not only an effective kick or 

victory, but also injuries. I remember at 

the end of the 90’s, at a friendly game 

in Germany, I hurt my elbow. When 

they brought me out the painkillers, the 

ampoule somehow managed to break and 

the spray went into my eye instead of onto 

my elbow, and my eye started to “freeze” 

immediately. My elbow at some time later 

got some painkillers as well (laughs).



- What do you do currently?

- I retired from sport in 2008, and 

decided to start a family. Askhat and I 

got married after the Beijing Olympics. 

I also work for a company that supplies 

professional sport equipment and 

uniforms. It is linked to sport, and I enjoy 

it, especially as I do not like sitting around 

doing nothing.

- Sport assumes leadership, but 

having a family means being able to 

back down. Can two sportspeople live 

together? Tell us a little about your 

family. How did you meet?

Yelena:

- Yes, both of us are leaders. We were both 

team captains for many years. However, 

the leadership was left on the playing field, 

and at home I am the wife and keeper of 

the home. Of course, just like in any other 

family, we argue, but we always try to find a 

compromise. And I always try to remember 

that the man is the head of the family.

I got to know Askhat in 1997, and we 

immediately got on, but only got married 

11 years later in 2008. Both of us have had 

an active sporting career, goals and plans, a 

lot of trips to various places, but ultimately 

fate brought us together (smiles). Our 

family is close. We spend a lot of time 

together, travel up into the mountains, go 

to the cinema and children’s parks, and 

visit friends.

Askhat:

- We have a very close family and try to 

avoid confrontation.

- Do you teach your children sport? 

Would you like to see your children 

take up sport?

Askhat:

- Let me say this, I will give them 

direction, but it is up to them what they 

want to do when they grow up. But sport 

is a good trainer, and that is what today’s 

children need.



Yelena:

- As a child, I remember that my mother, 

as a professional sportswoman who knew 

all of the difficulties that sport can bring, 

was against me taking up sport. They even 

would not let me go training. But I liked 

volleyball so much that I would escape and 

go training. And after seeing how insistent 

I was, my mother finally agreed, but also 

warned me that professional sport is not 

as simple as it would seem.

I would not want to hinder my children, 

and if they do choose sport, I will support 

them. If they decide to do something else, 

we will also help them. I mean the most 

important thing is that the person is happy 

in what they decide to do.

- And finally - PetroKazakhstan 

also supports a healthy lifestyle, and 

we have our own annual Olympic 

Games. We would like to take this 

opportunity to invite you as honorary 

guests to our Olympic Games. Do you 

have any words for our sportsmen 

and women, and employees, as a 

whole?

Askhat:

- This type of Olympic Games is a serious 

event, and PetroKazakhstan is a great 

example to others, proving that not only 

good production figures are important, 

but also the development of a healthy life 

style. And it is great to hear that this year 

will be your 5

th

 Olympic Games.



I would like to wish PetroKazakhstan 

employees a good working atmosphere, 

and hope that you achieve everything 

you want in sport, your personal lives and 

at work, and also that PetroKazakhstan 

flourishes!



Yelena:

- I would like to wish that everyone 

achieves their goals through persistence. 

I wish you victories on the sport’s field, 

victories over yourself as life is a series of 

contests, and each day brings all kinds of 

medals.

Yelena Pavlova 

Born on 12 December 1978. 

Kazakhstan volleyball player, forward. 

International class master of sport.

Жапония. Әлем Чемпионаты. / Япония. 

Чемпионат мира. / Japan. World Championship. 


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