Turkmenistan to host V Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games

6 March

Sport is an effective and flexible instrument for the promotion of peace and development. The outcome document of the United Nations Summit for the post-2015 development agenda notes that sports is an important factor for sustainable development. The UN recognizes the significant contribution of sports into peace and development, as it promotes the establishment of the principles of tolerance and respect, promoting the empowerment of women and youth, as well as health, education and social integration.

2017 will be marked for Turkmenistan by a major sporting event - V Asian Indoors and Martial Arts Games. On December 19 2010, as a result of the signing in Kuwait of the Memorandum between the OCA and the National Olympic Committee of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat received the right to host V Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

This decision of the Olympic Council of Asia, was evidence of the high international prestige of the country, the policy of wide international cooperation pursued by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, a sign of trust and recognition of the undoubtful successes of Turkmenistan in the political, socio-economic and other areas and adherence to high humanistic ideals of the Olympic movement.
The right to carry out complex international sports games is gained by only those countries where there is a development of national sports base. Due to the great attention paid by the President of Turkmenistan to the development of sports, the state allocates significant investments in the construction of modern sports and recreational complexes. Of particular importance is the modernization of the corresponding infrastructure, which is considered as the basis not only for the development of high performance sport, but also for creating conditions for sports and mass movement upbringing of a physically strong generation, approval in society of principles of a healthy and active lifestyle.

Only in recent years in the Turkmen capital there were built and put into operation a number of stadiums, the Ice Palace, the water sports complex, the winter sports complex, the National Institute of Sports and Tourism, as well as many other sports facilities. In all regions of the country there are dozens of sports facilities that meet all modern requirements, the schools work in different areas of sports training.
At the same time, a variety of events of national and international level – tournaments and championships are being organised. All this has created favorable conditions for physical culture and sports, sporting events. As a result, a number of children and young people engaged in various sports has increased many times over.

In preparation for the Asian Games, an extensive work on the transformation of the capital, the construction of hotel complexes, shopping and entertainment venues, commissioning of a new international airport and several other facilities is being carried out.

Another important component of the development of our country as a sports power is the creation of the necessary legal framework for the development of physical culture and sports, training of athletes and volunteers, an invitation to work for foreign experts in the field of sports. In particular, only in recent years have been adopted Laws of Turkmenistan "On Physical Culture and Sport", "On professional sports", "On volunteering" and "On the organization and holding of 2017 V Asian Indoor Games and Martial Arts in the city Ashgabat".

It should be noted that the sports theme is invariably introduced by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who is President of the National Olympic Committee, into the agenda of the talks at the highest level in the program of foreign visits, during which the head of state allocates time in his busy schedule to review the experience of the organization of modern sports infrastructure in different countries.
One of the main purposes of the Asian Games is not only to increase the authority of Turkmenistan in the international arena, but also to popularize the sports - and not just elite sport, but also the mass physical culture and sports and recreation movement, in which every year a growing number of citizens of Turkmenistan is involved. In this context, it should be noted that on the initiative of the head of state, a monthly event entitled "Health and Happiness" is held, dedicated to the celebrated in April of the World Health Day. Its purpose is to popularize the country’s principles of a healthy lifestyle, as well as the development of physical culture and sports in Turkmenistan.

World Health Day in Turkmenistan is considered as a public holiday in Turkmenistan.
The personification of the desire of Turkmenistan to new heights and world achievements was the construction of the Olympic Village in the capital, where participants of the V Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games will fight for medals. Therefore, the assignment of the status of Ashgabat as the capital for the V Asian Games is a certificate of recognition of Turkmenistan as a country with a highly developed sports infrastructure.

The project "Asian Games-2017" will increase the international prestige of Turkmenistan, as events at such a scale level directly activate the multi-pronged international partnerships, contribute to the strengthening of friendship and business contacts, establish an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding in the region and the world at large, as well as stimulate the development of the national economy, cultural life and the tourist industry.

Forthcoming in September 2017, the Ashgabat Asian Games will be the largest in a series of Asian games, going beyond the continental competitions: the first time the teams not only in Asia but also from Oceania will attend it. According to the Memorandum between the Organizing Committee of the Asian Games 2017, the OCA and the NOCs of Oceania signed in Ashgabat in November 2014, the international competition will be attended by delegations from 45 National Olympic Committees of Asia, as well as the 17 NOCs in Oceania. In 21 types of sports, including those incorporated in the program of the Asian Games at the initiative of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Turkmen National Wrestling “goresh” and popular type of equestrian sports - show jumping, will compete more than 5500 athletes from 62 countries.

The competitions will be held at the largest sites of the Olympic Village, which has no analogues in Central Asia. Currently, the almost completed main construction works include the area for about 30 buildings, where all the conditions are set in place for a full competitive process and leisure of athletes. In addition, there has been already installed a technological equipment that provides information and communications support and games management system by the Spanish company «ATOS», official IT-partner of the International Olympic Committee. In the Olympic Village a number of tournaments, including the Asian Sambo Championship, Turkmen national belt goresh fight, jiu-jitsu, basketball competitions, tennis, track and field athletics, have been already organised which is a proof of the readiness of the Olympic Village to welcome the participants.

Much attention is paid to the mass coverage of the V Asian Games, which will be held under the motto: "Health. Inspiration. Friendship". So, in April 2015 Turkmenistan organised the International Sports Media Forum, and in September - the meeting of the 34th General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia, during which the President of the Olympic Council of Asia and the Association of National Olympic Committee Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah announced the decision of the Association of National Olympic committee to award the Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with special award for outstanding contribution to the development of the sports movement and cooperation in this field.

From 19 to 24 September 2016, the Turkmen capital hosted the International Sports Media Forum, dedicated to the complex preparations for the V Asian Games, in which representatives of the media from 30 countries got acquainted with the construction of the abovementioned Olympic Village.

Another fact that should be noted is the event dedicated to the 500 days before the start of the Asian Games - 5 May 2016 during which the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov together with Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of Olympic Council of Asia, have launched equestrian path in honor of Asian Games-2017. During this period, 17 riders on Akhal-Teke horses have been transiting through all regions of the country and will finish in the capital town on the opening day of the V Asian Indoor Games and Martial Arts.

At present, Turkmenistan came to the finish line in preparation for the Asian Games and looks forward to the athletes and sports enthusiasts. In preparation for the Asian Games, a mascot was approved, which will be Alabai, a Turkmen dog breed and a friendly puppy, depicted in stylized national dress and in a tracksuit.
The official brand of the Games, approved by the head of state, is a symbolic story about a caravan, for centuries en route through the territory of Turkmenistan. This tour is shown in the modern national style, absorbing the features of Turkmen culture and art, and at the same time presents the modern times of the country, the renewed Ashgabat.

Decorative techniques used in the design of the brand, are based on the motives of the national patterns and ornaments, as well as jewelry, which succinctly and eloquently reveal the beauty of the nature and identity of Turkmenistan’s cultural heritage. The official brand of the Games also serves as an invitation to make a journey along the Great Silk Road and colorful expression of the world’s traditions of our people, its culture, art and modern architecture, demonstrating the crucial role of sport and its peacekeeping mission in Turkmenistan.

These games will serve as an impetus for future major sporting events of international level in Ashgabat. The success of the Games will strengthen the reputation of Turkmenistan, a country that can be trusted to hold major international sporting events, and will be a powerful argument when applying to host in Ashgabat major sporting events in the future.

Author: H.E. Mr. Atageldi HALJANOV
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan
to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations at Geneva