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The Ashgabat Olympic Stadium.
Ashgabat 2017 adds colourful chapter to OCA history


24 Sep 2017
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, September 24, 2017: Every multi-sport games has distinctive characteristics and offers something new to the legacy of the Olympic Council of Asia. The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, is delivering on all fronts and revealing a new world of culture and tradition to the visitors from Asia, Oceania and beyond.

A stroll through the litter-free, gleaming white Ashgabat Olympic Complex encapsulates the exoticism of this Central Asian nation. Under a burning sun and sparkling blue skies, the local women stand out with their bright and multi-coloured national dress, known as the Koynek, topped off with striking head wear.

On this particular Sunday, crowds of spectators snake through the complex, making their way to one of the various venues or to the open air café or restaurant for a snack and refreshment in between the competition sessions.

The background music projects a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and the new monorail quietly glides around the outskirts of the complex, transporting the athletes to the competition or training venues. Work on the state-of-the-art complex began in 2010 and 13 of the 15 competition venues for the 5th AIMAG are located inside the park, enabling the athletes and officials to walk from their hotels or village in a matter of minutes.

As the OCA President, HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, pointed out at the start of the games, the 5th AIMAG offers a unique aspect – something he has never seen before during his three decades in the Olympic movement.

“It is always a 30-minute drive to the venue or even a 45-minute drive from venue to venue, but here it is a 10-minute walk or even a five-minute walk,” he said. “This is a record for a multi-sport games in my experience. I did not find this in another games for three decades. I think it is the best in the history of the games.”

With fountains, pools, flags and greenery offering a perfect backdrop for souvenir photos, the most popular view is of the impressive 45,000-capacity Ashgabat Olympic Stadium. The opening ceremony was held there on September 17, and since then the flame of the cauldron has lit up the bright blue sky, or glowed in the evening alongside the spectacular, multi-coloured lighting of the stadiums, hotels and complex in general.

The closing ceremony will be held there on September 27 – but the striking scenes of Ashgabat and Turkmenistan will burn brightly long after the flame has been extinguished.
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