Ashgabat is in the spotlight.
The capital of Turkmenistan welcomes guests for the Fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
Sixty-five delegations will compete in 21 sports from 17th to 27th September. The choice of the competition program was inspired by a variety of Asian traditional sports. It is an ambitious and inclusive programme.
Husain Al Musallam, Director General of the Olympic Council of Asia, said: “Sport promotes peace and unites people and the main message is peace. Asia has a lot of political challenges so let’s get all the kids of Asia and everybody, government and non-government, national Olympic Committees and Confederations, together, to enjoy these 10 days, to work and talk positively and cohabit.”
The message of peace is ready to be spread around the world. The media gallery is already working at a full speed.
And the athletes are arriving to Ashgabat. For many it is the first ever journey to Central Asia.
And some, like the team from Tahiti, needed more than 40 hours to get here.
Anna Yon Yue Chong, Muay thai athlete, says: “For Tahiti it’s an historic moment because it’s the first time that we will participate in an international competition of this level. It’s a great opportunity for me, at my level of Muay thai, because it will allow me to challenge Asia’s best fighters.”
Athletes from Australia and Oceania countries joined the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games for the first time.
Newcomers hope to come back home with gold medals, but say that this unique experience is worth its weight in gold.