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On the final stage of preparations towards the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017: The Olympic Complex of the Turkmen capital operates in a testing mode
Interview with the Chairman of the Executive Committee on preparation of V Asian Games Dayanch Gulgeldiev
REPORTER: In a little more than a year, the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games will be held in Ashgabat, and the city today lives in the expectations of the forthcoming event that can be felt everywhere – in its constructions and great renovation of the country’s capital, in sport events and test competitions. Tremendous job is carried out with the participation of all the ministries and departments of Turkmenistan as Asiada-2017 is the major image project, which will form the world’s perception about the modern county.
The Executive Committee on preparation of V Asian Games led by Dayanch Gulgeldiev, is the key organization working every day in order to ensure the delivery of the Games at the highest level.
Dear Chairman, thank you for kindly agreeing to answer our questions. First of all, how do you currently see the readiness of the country to host the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017?
D.GULGELDIEV: We are on track with all the deliverables demonstrating quite high performance. First and foremost, it is the merit of our nation’s leader – President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov - who has set the main goal for us, which is to open Turkmenistan to the whole world through sports and hospitality.
The Head of State asks for best quality and proper timing for all organizational work, providing personal support during the preparation for the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat will be the largest ones: in addition to the 45 National Olympic Committees of the Olympic Council of Asia, 17 National Olympic Committees from Oceania will participate in the Games. In November 2014 in the Turkmen capital a historic Memorandum was signed between the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017 Organizing Committee, the Olympic Council of Asia and National Olympic Committees of Oceania with the participation of President of Turkmenistan. It is supposed that more than 5 thousand athletes from 62 countries will compete in 21 sports at the venues of the Central Asia’s largest sports complex in Ashgabat in September 2017.
Two of them – the national belt wrestling goresh and show jumping are included in the list of sports on the proposal of country’s President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, who is also the President of Turkmenistan National Olympic Committee. I would like to emphasize an importance of the decision made by the Olympic Council of Asia to hold the Asian Games in Ashgabat is in particular an initiative role of the President of Turkmenistan, who determined the development of physical culture and sport as one of the priorities of state policy.
A sports-oriented policy of the nation’s leader brings fantastic results: the Turkmen sport moves on a new level of development, and our country becomes a host for major sporting events.
Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages – from seven to seventy years old - have been involved in the country’s mass sports and physical culture movement. Thousands of young Turkmen citizens are engaged in an elite sport. Today they are preparing to demonstrate high performance at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017.
It will be the first ever international competition of such a scale that Ashgabat is going to host. Therefore, this event, being very interesting for us, is a great responsibility. In order to host the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games at a high level, the Turkmen delegations visit foreign countries to gain as much knowledge and expertise as possible in organizing the international sports competitions.
We work in close cooperation with the Olympic Council of Asia, other key sports organizations and leading international specialists for the Games to be held at the highest level, becoming a major sporting event for Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and the entire region.
REPORTER: Could you please advise what main stages have already completed on the way to host the Games?
D.GULGELDIEV: Active preparation has immediately begun, as soon as in 2010 the contract on hosting the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017 was signed between the Olympic Council of Asia, National Olympic Committee of Turkmenistan and the city of Ashgabat’s executive board.
The next stage in 2013 was to create the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games Organizing Committee and the Executive Committee.
In order to start implementing the strategic plan of hosting the Games, 15 departments were formed in the structure of the Executive Committee.
In order to promote the Games worldwide, the International Sports Media Forum was held in Ashgabat. Key foreign media and broadcasters gathered in the country’s capital in 2014 to share as much knowledge as possible on the way major sporting events work in 21st century.
In 2015, the International conference “Asiada-2017 and the role of Turkmenistan in the development of sport for progress and peace” was held in Ashgabat.
Moreover, in 2016, the country’s capital hosted the General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia.
On May 5, 2016 at a ceremony celebrating 500 days to go until the Games, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov personally launched the equestrian relay that, going through the whole country, will finish at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017 Opening Ceremony at the main arena of Ashgabat’s Olympic Complex.
17 riders on famous Akhalteke horses opened the procession heading through all velayats of the country against the walls of the ancient fortress of Nisa – once powerful Parthia’s capital.
REPORTER: Akhalteke horse has become a symbol of Asiada-2017...
D.GULGELDIEV: Yes, indeed. A horse’s head with a finishing tape is the official logo of the Games. The racer is not just a symbol of our Games; it is a symbol of the whole country, our lucky charm.
That is why all Turkmen citizens enthusiastically endorsed the idea of the country’s President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov to conduct the horse relay, which will deliver the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017 torch, lit up on the world’s largest gas field Galkynysh, to the Olympic stadium.
Now, thanks to the broadcasting and newspaper stories, everybody follows the horse relay that goes through the main places of interest of our country. Thus, we show the world our entire country, its famous historical and cultural monuments, beautiful nature and colorful customs and traditions. And, of course, we demonstrate the Akhalteke horses – our pride and fame - in all their glory!
REPORTER: One of the most important aspects of hosting a major sporting event is the construction of modern sports facilities where this event will take place. Indeed, the country has fantastic venues to be shown and admired by the whole world…
D.GULGELDIEV: That is very true. In November 2010, President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov initiated the construction of state-of-art Olympic Complex, which is unique in Central Asia both on the level of construction and scale.
Currently, the construction of the complex reached the final stage. In September 2015, President of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah took part in the Opening Ceremony of the Sport and Olympia Hotels that will welcome the guests during the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2017.
Some venues of the Olympic Complex have already hosted the test events. This March, the Championship of Turkmenistan in cycling took place at the indoor cycling track.
In cooperation with the international sports associations, a number of international test sporting events was agreed upon in order to check the readiness of the venues.
The first of them is the Asian Sambo Championship that was held in the Martial Arts Complex. On the eve of the competition, it was visited by technical experts of the international sports organizations, who did not only recognized that the venue meets the international standards and requirements, but also noted its flexibility that allows conducting the other sports competitions there as well.
About 400 participants from 17 countries attended the Asian Sambo Championship. It is a great pleasure and honor that our national team took the overall first place and were number 1 according to the total number of medals – 66, with 21 of them being gold!
During this competition, the arrival and departure of guests, transfers, transportation and accreditation systems, media and broadcasting operations, logistics and management of the sports venue involving the work of 450 volunteers were all tested together with the medical support, security, doping control, awards ceremony and other operational functions.
The Asian Sambo Championship gave the opportunity to check the readiness and skills of our staff and volunteers as well as to promote the professional development of our sports experts.
Representatives of the national media were actively involved in covering the Championship, practicing their skills in drafting the stories and broadcasting the sport events ahead of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. During the competition, students of the Journalism Department of the National Institute of Sports and Tourism of Turkmenistan were also able to test their abilities to work as commentators.
So we could say that not only we were testing the Olympic Complex, but it was also testing us – the entire huge team of specialists, volunteers and athletes, managers and organizers...
REPORTER: ... and what was the feedback?
D.GULGELDIEV: We are very pleased with the admiring comments from the representatives of international sports organizations about the level of the Championship, Olympic venues and many other things. Our guests were unanimous in their opinion that the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2017 would be a great success, held at the highest organizational level. We do our best for it.
By the order of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017 Organizing Committee’s meetings are held on a regular basis to address the outstanding topics, check the level of readiness of the venues, human resources, technology, and analyze the gained knowledge, skills and experience.
Now we are preparing for the next test competitions at the international level. Apart from the athletes, we are also expecting the sports specialists to visit Ashgabat in order to be on top of the preparations for the Games, and challenge us with new ideas and share experiences. Today, when Turkmenistan is preparing to host such a major sporting event as the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017, the knowledge and recommendations from the elite sport professionals are especially important and valuable for us.
REPORTER: Thank you for the interview and we wish great success to all who are engaged in organizing next year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. We have no doubt that it will be held at the highest possible organizational level, taking into consideration the close attention paid to its preparations by the country’s leader – President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov.