The sailing season in Kyrgyzstan was opened this weekend by President Rose Otunbaeva at Lake Issyk-Kul.
The heavy rain could not dampen the spirits of representatives from the Kyrgyzstan Sailing Federation as preparations for the day long festival were made.
As the dignitaries waited ashore, a fleet of boats sailed through the rain to the shore of the lake. The dinghies were met by other sailors ashore who lifted the boats out onto the beach whilst the yachts and cruising boats anchored a short distance away.
The athletes lined up with their boats to welcome the President of Kyrgyzstan Rose Otunbaeva. Vladimir Kirik, President of the Sailing Federation of Kyrgyzstan reported to President Isakovna that the Sailing Federation was ready for the season and congratulated the governor of Issyk-Kul area for the work to prepare the festival.
President Otunbaevathen opened the sailing season, saying "We are planning international regattas here in the Issyk-kul. We know that other lakes, much smaller than ours, have more than 60 sailing regattas every year so it is a good thing that the Sailing Federation is doing such good work to change the situation for Kyrgyzstan. We will certainly develop yachting and sailing on Lake Issyk-kul."
She then congratulated Ilya Ignatiev, who finished sixth in the Laser at the 2010 Asian Games and will be the first athlete from Kyrgyzstan to compete at the ISAF Sailing World Championship in December this year.
Then Vladimir Kirik presented the President Isakovna a certificate awarding her the title of Honorary President of the Sailing Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic and asked her to strike the bell to signal the opening of sailing season.
The title of Honorary President acknowledges President Isakovna's interest in the problems of sailing and the gratitude of the Sailing Federation. "It's obvious that Otunbayeva really wants to help our children to break the international arena and to make in Issyk-Kul our own international regattas, or there was at least one regatta to begin with. Such faith is not just inspiring, but also charges
!" said Kirik.
As President Otunbaeva struck the bell, the sound scattered along the beach and finally the rain stopped and the sun came out. The sailors on the beach shouted "Hurrah! Issyk-Kuyl, Hurray Kyrgyzstan!" and then rushed to their rig their boats and return to the water. In just a few minutes there was not a single boat left on the beach and more sailing boats on the lake than had been seen before.
The festival was a great success and organizers hope that they were able to demonstrate the potential of Issyk-kul and the sport of sailing for the development of tourism in the area. Vladimir Kirik concluded saying "We made a proposal to organize an international regatta on Lake Issyk-kul later this year. This regatta can be the 'President's Cup' and we are already talking to representatives in China, Pakistan, Turkey and Qatar.
We look forward to seeing more from Kyrgyzstan in the near future.