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Turkmen capital hopes to audition for Olympic hosting 

The Olympic Stadium in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan which will host the opening ceremony of the 5th Asian Indoor and martial Arts Games from September 17, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, Aug 21 – Ashgabat, the capital city of Turkmenistan will be hosting the fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in September and the small Asian country tucked between Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range hopes to use this chance to audition for the possibility of hosting bigger events.

The biggest of their ambition as they welcome over 51 countries to their first ever major event will be to host the Asian Games or in the future, the Olympics.

“Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been here several times and they are impressed with what we have done. I think in the future when we say we want to host the Olympics it will not be hard for them to believe us,” Ata Akmammedou, a member of the Asian Indoor Games Organizing Committee told Capital Sport.

The government and the Turkmenistan Olympic Committee have set out a lush and plum Olympic Complex, complete with competition and training grounds as well as a huge accommodation facility.

The multi-billion dollar complex sitting on almost 250 acres of land in the middle of the Turkmen capital will host the Indoor Games and is 95 per cent ready, just 30 days to the championship. Work on creating the Complex started seven years ago.

The Local Organizing Committeee Celebrated 30 days to their first ever major championship with fan fare at the Olympic CXomplex in Ashgabat. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“We have done a lot of work on this Complex and now we have just a few final touches remaining before the games. It is something big here in Ashgabat because we have never hosted a big event like this. For the people, for the government and for the Olympic Committee, this is a very big thing,” Akmammedou noted.

The icon of the Complex is a 45,000-seater multi-purpose stadium. It has also hosts a main indoor arena for wrestling, billiard sports arena, taekwondo arena, kickboxing, martial arts, indoor tennis, 3×3 basketball and bowling arena.

It also has an indoor athletics track, a velodrome for indoor cycling as well as a 5,000-seater aquatic arena, added on to the more than 20 training facilities awash across the complex.

“In preparing this Complex, we worked with different international organizations to ensure that we make them up to standard. Everything here can be used for any kind of international competition for any sport,” Akmammedou further pointed out.

He further adds that hosting the games will open up the quiet country to the attention of the outside world and they hope to parade their best as they host over 3,000 athletes for the Asian Indoor Games.

The accomodation facility at the Olympic Complex in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“Most people don’t know about Ashgabat and Turkmenistan. Hosting this championship will open this city up to the world. We are a beautiful country,” the LOC member further stated.

After the games, the Complex will be used to host different national teams as well as acting as a base-camp for teams from within and outside the Asian country looking for training facilities.

Turkmenistan offers lessons to Kenya which successfully hosted the IAAF World Under-18 Championship last month and is battling to be ready for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Last week, Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario said the country will bid to host the IAAF World Championships in 2023.

– Akmammedou offers advice to Kenya –

“It has a lot to do with the commitment of the federations and the government. For us here, the government has been at the forefront especially our president His Excellency Berdimuhamedow. If you want to host a successful event, there has to be a lot of commitment from everyone,” he advised.

The LOC marked 30-days to the championship last Thursday with a beautiful ceremony at the heart of the Complex, attended by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

Turkmenistan President President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow poses with a section of the delegation as he toured the Olympic Complex in Ashgabat on August 17, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

The celebration involved a show of Turkmenistan’s rich heritage in music and tradition as well as coinciding with a celebration of their national melon day where the President took turns to taste an piece of the fruit from across the country.

He also toured the accommodation facility which has over 20 blocks at the complex, giving it thumbs up to host the athletes and officials from the 64 participating countries.

Over 3,000 athletes are expected for the Games which begin on September 17 running through to September 28.

Traditional Wrestling, 3×3 basketball, equestrian Jumping, belt wrestling, billiard sports, bowling, chess, dance sport, futsal, indoor athletics, indoor tennis, Ju Jitsu, kickboxing, kurash, Muaythai, Sambo short course swimming, taekwondo, indoor cycling, weightlifting, wrestling and video gaming are the 21 sports which will be contested.