Friday, July 27, 2012 -
Over 200 athletes from the five Central Asian states will be participating in the London Olympics, scheduled to kick off with opening ceremonies on Friday.
Kazakhstan, despite its sparse population of 16.8 million, leads the pack with 115 athletes, who will be competing on a global scale on sports which include wrestling, boxing, shooting, weightlifting, and judo.
However, the country is trying to replace two of its athletes competing in the weightlifting sport, citing medical reasons. It is believed that the actual issue is that the two athletes, Arli Chontei and Farkhad Kharki, were born in China and have only recently received Kazakh citizenship.
Neighboring Kyrgyzstan is sending 15 athletes to the British capital, while Tajikistan is sending 16. Turkmenistan is sending ten.
Uzbekistan, by far the most populous of the five states with 28 million people, is sending 54 athletes to participate in the global games.
Kazakh athletes stand to gain the most financially in the region for a gold medal, with winners being awarded $250,000. Uzbekistan is offering $100,000 for a gold medal, while impoverished Tajikistan will give gold medal-winning athletes $66,500.