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Ashgabat gears up for ‘Fifth Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games’

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Ashgabat gears up for ‘Fifth Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games’

 Ashgabat known as the white marble city, the Turkmenistan’s capital, awaits the guests of the ‘Fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games’, also known as AIMAG on Sunday. This pan-continental sport event starts on the 17th of September 2017 and would be completed on 27th of the same month.

The best athletes from Asia and Oceania will compete in its beautiful white-stoned venues in 21 different sports for 12 days. According to Turkmen officials, sixty-five delegations will take part in these games, where around 6,000 athletes, coaches and technical delegates are expected to attend the event.

According to Afghanistan’s National Olympic Committee officials, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani would also accompany the athletes, persuading them to get medals. According to Olympic officials from Afghanistan 215 athletes will participate in 15 different categories.

“I am happy that after one and a half year, President Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah want to accompany the athletes. The president’s presence at the opening ceremony of the indoor sports will motivate the athletes and this is a good move and will encourage the sportsmen to work for medals,” said the head of the National Olympic Committee Zahir Aghbar as quoted by the local Tolonews Tv.

“The good news for the athletes is that government has promised to give $10,000 USD to gold medal winners, $5,000 USD for silver medal winners, and $3,000 USD for bronze medal winners. This is common in most of countries to encourage the athletes,” Ghulam Rabbani Rabbani, the technical manager of the team said.

As Ashgabat would host the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in spectacular fashion on Sunday, Turkmenistan as a whole is preparing itself for the largest influx of international visitors it has ever welcomed for an event.

The venue for the 5th edition - Ashgabat - holds a unique position in the Guinness Book of World Records as well. The city is home to the largest number of white marble buildings on the planet. Close to 550 buildings have been made using marble in the city, and in total, they cover 4.5 million square meters.

Against the backdrop of these radiating towers, elite athletes have an opportunity to shine like never before. And to ensure that the Games run smoothly, 10,000 volunteers will be on deck during the 12-day competition.

Ashgabat 2017, however, won’t just be a wonderful spectacle of world-class sport in state-of-the-art venues, hosted in one of the world’s most enchanting cities: it will be a catalyst for change that will leave a lasting legacy for a country that has a tremendous passion for sport and healthy living.

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.

The Ashgabat Asian Games is indeed 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.

Meanwhile, Military and law enforcement agencies in all regions of Turkmenistan will operate in intensified mode during the games to keep secure the environment for the athletes.

The very first Asian Indoor Games was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005. The 2007 Asian Indoor Games paved the way for the success of one sport in particular. 3x3 Basketball was played for the very first time on a global stage in Macau, and the positive response meant that the sport would then make its debut at the 2010 Youth Olympics. Time and again, the Asian Indoor Games have proved to be a hotbed for successfully testing new and promising sports.

While the Indoor Games gained momentum, the Asian Martial Arts Games came to the fore too. In 2009, 37 nations took part in the inaugural multi-combat event held in Bangkok. The unprecedented success of this tournament was a sign of things to come.

The Olympic Council of Asia figured that merging the Indoor Games and the Martial Arts Games would result in a windfall for all the stakeholders involved, especially the fans and the athletes. This decision eventually led to the very first Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games being held in 2013 at Incheon, South Korea.

At the time of the merger, only the first part of the Ashgabat Olympic Complex existed. A testament to the progress of the complex is that the same location now hosts 13 of the 15 competition venues, all world class, needed for the upcoming Games.