FISU visited venues for the Almaty 2017 Winter Universiade ©Almaty 2017

An International University Sports Federation (FISU) delegation have visited venues for the Almaty 2017 Winter Universiade to review the progress in construction and technical preparations for the event.

The 12,000-seat Ice Palace, due to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in addition to the figure skating, was one of the construction sites visited by the delegation.

An Ice Arena and an Athletes’ Village housing 5,000 athletes and officials also saw their construction scrutinised.

Existing venues such as the Shymbulak Ski Resort, the International Ski Jumping Complex Sunkar, and the Alatau Cross Country Skiing centre and Biathlon Stadium were also visited.

“I find these venues fantastic, the most modernised technologies will be used for the preparation of ice,” said Milan Augustin, director of the World Winter Universiade at FISU, who led the delegation.

“In the future, this Ice Palace will play an important role in the development of sport, this is also the first time that an Athletes’ Village is being built for the Universiade.

“This Universiade will be different than previous Universiades.”

More than 2,000 athletes from 55 countries are expected to take part in the 26th edition of the Universiade, due to take place from January 28 to February 8 in 2017, with organisers hopeful the event will boost the Kazakhstan’s prospects of hosting future large scale events.

Almaty fell narrowly short in its bid to be awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics after losing by a 44 votes to 40 margin at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Kuala Lumpur last July.

The Universiade is considered as a way to help to invest in the development of elite athletes and boost the country’s reputation and chance of hosting future World Championships and the Winter Olympics.

During their visit the FISU delegation also met with Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Dariga Nazarbayeva, who is leading preparations for the Universiade, and Almaty Mayor Bauyrzhan Baibek to further discuss their preparations.

The Universiade is set to feature competition in 13 disciplines, with eight venues used, and has a budget of around 17 billion tenge (£34 million/$50 million/€46 million).