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Ashgabat 2017

Turkmenistan plays host to the first Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Central Asia

Young and dynamically developing Turkmenistan will be the first state in Central Asia to host the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 July, 2017, 9:48am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 July, 2017, 9:48am

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From September 17 to 27, thousands of athletes will meet in the white-marbled city of Ashgabat, the capital city of Turkmenistan, to compete for a total of 341 gold medals. The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games will proudly lay down a marker as the prestigious multi-sport event comes to Central Asia for the first time ever.

The event is also expected to be the biggest Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games ever held. In addition to Asia, Ashgabat 2017 will be open to countries from Oceania, bringing the total number of participating delegations to 65. 

Hosting the Games is a long-term investment in the future of Ashgabat and Turkmenistan, the organisers say. The themes of the Games are Health, Inspiration and Friendship, reflecting the belief that sports and the Olympic Movement play a significant role in developing friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation between people. 

The Turkmen organisers have pledged that every effort will be made to ensure the Games will be held at the highest level and that all participants will enjoy the famous hospitality and cordiality of the Turkmen land.

Before the flag of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) was handed over to Ashgabat—signifying the award of the hosting right to the city, the Games and its previous incarnations as the Asian Indoor Games and the Asian Martial Arts Games had always taken place in East and Southeast Asia, including editions in Bangkok, Incheon, Macau and Hanoi. Ashgabat 2017, therefore, marks the beginning of a new era for the Games, as Central Asia embarks on a new adventure of hosting a major, world-class sport event.

The multi-sport Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games include a wide range of sports and disciplines. With 21 sports on the schedule, Ashgabat 2017 will have one of the richest mix of sports anywhere, enabling athletes to compete in both Olympic and non-Olympic sports. 

In addition to a range of sports more familiar to followers of the Olympic Games, Ashgabat 2017 will also feature many widely popular and especially TV- and viewer-friendly sports, such as Dance Sport and various forms of wrestling.

The number of different sports involved in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games will be twice as high compared to the previous edition, offering ample viewing opportunities for spectators. 

Thousands of athletes are expected to contest against each other in the various disciplines. Track cycling, equestrian jumping, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling are to be contested in true Olympic formats, whereas another five Olympic sports – basketball, athletics, football, swimming and tennis - will be contested in alternative formats. The 11 non-Olympic sports included in the programme are bowling, chess, billiard sports, Dance Sport, ju-jitsu, kickboxing, kurash, muaythai, sambo, belt wrestling and traditional wrestling.

These exciting events will be contested across 15 venues in Ashgabat, 13 of which will be held in the Ashgabat Olympic Complex, a state-of-the-art collection of venues whose legacy will benefit the country far beyond the end of the Games 

Some venues of the Olympic Complex, including the Aquatics Centre and the Main Martial Arts Arena, have already hosted various test events, in particular during the Inspiring Ashgabat series earlier this year.

Located in the western part of Central Asia, Turkmenistan boasts a total area of half a million square kilometres, almost the size of Spain, and is home to more than six million people. 

Turkmenistan has been an independent state since 1991. Its capital city, Ashgabat, is not only known as the "city of love" but also the city of white marble. Following Turkmenistan’s independence a lot of attention has been paid to the appearance and improvement of the territory’s landscaping. Over 500 of the city’s new buildings are finished with white marble.

Since its birth, Turkmenistan has also been a peaceful country. At the end of 1995, the country’s declaration of "permanent neutrality" was formally recognised by the United Nations. The country prides itself of the standard of living of its population, while the hosting of an international multi-sport event in peace and harmony is widely anticipated.

The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games will not only emphasise the importance of sports in Turkmenistan, but also showcase both traditional and modern artefacts and buildings for visiting guests. Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilisations for centuries. As part of the Ancient Silk Road, a caravan route used for trade with China and beyond in the past, the region around Ashgabat has been playing the role of a welcoming host for travellers for over 2000 years. The 2017 Games in Ashgabat will continue to reflect this rich and historic culture to the world. 

Practical information

Visas are required for every traveller entering Turkmenistan which can be applied through the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Beijing. 

The new Ashgabat International Airport was open in 2016 after being completely redesigned and rebuilt. Flights from Hong Kong to Ashgabat: Air China or Dragonair, China Southern (via Chengdu and Urumqi) or Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul).

For information about Ashgabat 2017, visit