Nations Cup Ranking: 13th (1033 pts)
Men: 13th (502 pts)
Women: 10th (531 pts)
2010/2011 A Team
What you may have missed last season:
While the team is led in points by Nikolay Chebotko, a solid classic skier who struggles almost every time he puts on a pair of skate skis, the Kazakh man you should be familiar with is Alexey Poltoranin. He managed to get himself into the finals at the Olympic sprint, finishing 5th while tangling up with Petter Northug on the one tricky downhill corner on the course. Poltoranin’s success at the Olympics was surprising – in his first three sprints on the World Cup last season, now only did he fail to make heats, but he failed to crack the top 50.
However, after a quick trip to Austrian Nationals, where he won two races, and Under-23 World Championships in Hinterzarten, where he failed to make the final, he came barreling out of the gate to qualify third in Canmore and finish in the top 10.
Poltoranin and Chebotko set themselves up for a solid Olympics, where the two made some noise in the sprint relay, collecting 5th place and some cash from the Kazakh government.
What You Should Know For This Season
The Kazakh’s have Asian Winter Games on their home turf, and if the website is any judge, it should be a spectacular show!
Otherwise, Svetlana Malakhova-Shishkina is getting long in the tooth, and her abilities have begun to degrade. She struggled to collect even one top 10 last season, and it doesn’t seem realistic to expect much more, especially when the event she excels at, the individual start 10 k in any technique, is not frequent on the World Cup.
Elina Kolomina and Oxana Jatskaya seem to be ideally placed to pick up the slack. Unfortunately for Kazakhstan, Kolomina had only one good race last season, a second place in the ridiculously tight-finishing 10 k classic on the Tour de Ski. Meanwhile Jatskaya, who bills herself primarily as a sprinter, made the final just once, in Canmore, where she promptly finished last.
Who You Should Watch
While he is far from a lock to do well, Poltoranin’s rise has been so spectacularly quick that it is a good idea to keep your eye on the 23 year-old Kazakh. Some weekends he might be so far from the podium he can barely see it – others he’ll be standing near the top step. He is the type of skier that is difficult to predict, but impossible to write off.