Mary Solemnly Marks 100-day Countdown to Asiada�2017

Mary hosted celebrations that marked the 100-day countdown to the opening of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games to be hosted by our capital this September.

The festivities were attended by the representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan; the Mary regional administration; the State Committee for Sport; the Olympic Committee; the Executive Committee of Asiada�2017; leading athletes and coaches. Among distinguished guests were the participants of the international media forum Asiada in the World Press that is being held in Ashgabat and Mary these days.

The event opened with 17 riders parading on gracious Ahalteke horses. The horsemen leading the convoy carried the torch of Asiada�2017, the state flag of Turkmenistan and the flag of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Following the marathoners, the leading athletes, who distinguished themselves at competitions of various levels, greeted the guests. Then the sports arena welcomed the dance groups and renowned singers. The musical part of the event culminated with the performance of the live symbols of the Game's mascot, Wepaly, who amused the audience with funny dances. The countdown to the main sporting event of the year has hit the two-digit number. And with every new dawn, the 500-day horse relay is approaching the finish line.

This grandiose campaign, initiated by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, started on 5 May 2016 at the walls of Nisa State Historical and Cultural Reserve. Back then not only thousands of Turkmenistan nationals, but also representatives of the Olympic Council of Asia led by the OCA President, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, and many foreign media workers attended the solemn event.

Such a wide public resonance of Asiada�2017 is due to the fact that for the first time in history such Games will go beyond their initial geographic boundaries. Participants will include not only the athletes from Asian countries, but also from Oceania. As is known, the program of the Games has been expanded significantly, and will include medal events in more than 20 sports. This will certainly generate greater interest of spectators.

Especially since an Olympic Village, unprecedented in Central Asian region, has been constructed for them and the athletes themselves. The Village comprises several dozens of modern facilities, of different purposes; their concentration in one integrated complex will facilitate the athletes' activity (practicing, competing and travel); the volunteers' and media professionals' work, and so on.

Very soon, in just 100 days, Ashgabat will become the capital of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. 17 riders on Ahalteke horses have overcome the 80 per cent of the road. Let's recall what it was like and which famous places it crossed. Having started at the walls of Nisa, the first solemn meeting of the horsemen took place at another famous historical monument, the ancient city of Paryzdepe in Ahal province. Then the procession stopped by Yzgant, crossed the ancient Turkmen settlement of Gumly (on the outskirts of Derweze) and the Ichoguz railway station located at the very heart of the Karakum Desert.

The mountain village of Nohur in Baharly district was a final stop in Ahal, and then the torch was passed to Balkan province. The first stop where the torch of Asiada�2017, the state flag of Turkmenistan and the OCA flag were passed was the administrative center of Serdar district located nearby the historical and cultural monument of Parawbibi. Having passed through several settlements, including those located at the crossing of the seven roads of the Great Silk Road (Etrek district), the horsemen proceeded along the ancient course of the Uzboy River, reached the Mollakara Lake, and then the sandy coast of the Avaza National Tourist Zone.

Dashoguz province is known for a great number of historical sites and reserve areas. The horsemen stopped at the walls of the two forts, the Shasenem gala and Akja gala, and also visited the mausoleum of Ashyk Aydyn Pir. Among the most beautiful sites along the road were the Gaplangyr Nature Reserve and Koneurgench Historical and Cultural Reserve. Along the way they also crossed modern settlements such as Bagtyyar zaman located in the Jumaniyaz Hudaybergenov locality.

People of Lebap province welcomed the horsemen at the border with Dashoguz region, and then the marathoners proceeded to the town of Gazachak where a grand celebration awaited. During the next 100 days the main symbols of Asiada�2017 were carried through the towns and villages of the valley of the Amudarya; they saw the ancient historical and cultural monuments � Caravanserai, Dayahatyn, mausoleums of Astana baba and Alamberdar, madrasah of Idris baba where the great Turkmen poet and thinker, Magtymguly, studied, and so on.

Last month the marathon crossed the border of Mary province. The main meeting, where the torch was passed, took place in the administrative center. Now the sights of the Ancient Merv will warmly welcome the main symbols of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Source: Turkmenistan: the Golden Age Online Newspaper