Kazakhstan is not planning to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games but has not ruled out an attempt for the following edition in 2030, a key official has revealed.
Andrey Kryukov, vice-president of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan and who played a leading role in Almaty's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, claimed they would prioritise other sporting competitions in individual sports.
Almaty got within four votes of winning the 2022 Winter Olympics after running eventual winning Beijing far closer than expected in a 44-40 defeat.
There had been expectations since that Almaty or Kazakh capital Astana would start another attempt for 2026 but the door now appears to have been shut.
"As NOC vice-president I would like to comment that Kazakhstan is not planning to attend for bidding 2026 Winter Olympic Games this time," Kryukov told insidethegames.
"As for today there were no concern raised on these issue from NOC, City of Almaty nor from Government.
"We may plan to bid for the next Games."
Almaty's venues and concept was widely praised in the 2022 race but there were concerns over their financing, experience and Government support.
The former capital hosted the Winter Universiade last year and is also due to co-host the 2011 Asian Winter Games with Astana.
Kazakhstan has also been the location for World Championships in judo and boxing in recent years and hosted the 2017 World Tour Finals in table tennis in December.
"We successfully hosted events like Winter Universiade in 2017 which was highly appreciated by international winter sports federations," Kryukov added.
"Most competitions during Universiade were accomplished at the new venues with international standard.
"Also last year we hosted Expo Astana visited by more than two million guests from all around the world.
"We plan to host World Championships and World Cups in different winter sports upcoming years."
Sion in Switzerland, Calgary in Canada, Stockholm in Sweden, Sapporo in Japan and Graz and Schladming in Austria are other contenders in the 2026 race.
An Italian bid from Milan or Turin is also increasingly possible.
United States and Norway are other places who have decided to concentrate on bidding for the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A 2026 host is due to be chosen by the International Olympic Committee next year.
It is still possible there could be a joint awarding for 2026 and 2030.