The year 2017, announced on the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan G.M. Berdymukhamedov as the Year of Health and Inspiration, will take a special place in the historical annals of the country due to the scale of major events at the national and international levels.
Today, the preparatory work for the upcoming Fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan in September of this year is in its final stretch. It is expected that during the Fifth Asian Games Turkmenistan will host a record number of participants - more than 5,000 athletes from 62 countries, including the countries of Oceania, which is an unprecedented event in the history of the Asian Games. The best athletes making up the continental elite of world sports will compete for medals in 21 sports, provided by the program of the Games.
It is expected that this will be the first international competition of this scale, which the capital city Ashgabat is preparing to host. In order to conduct the Games at the highest organizational level, Turkmenistan closely cooperates with the Olympic Council of Asia and other international organizations, as well as with leading foreign experts. In conjunction with the Olympic Council of Asia, there is a successful cooperation to widely advertise the Fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in the Asian region, as well as in the states of Australia and Oceania, including informational work on the popularization of the Games. A plan to invite foreign press to the Turkmen capital for the Games was established, and a special program to ensure the participation of all 17 National Olympic Committees of the states of Oceania was developed.
The state provides solid investments in this area on a program basis, considering it one of the most important priorities of the sustainable development strategy. The policy implemented by the head of state in the field of sports brings tangible benefits. Turkmen sport is entering a new level of development and Turkmenistan is becoming a venue for major sports events.
It should be noted that one of the main purposes of the Fifth Asian Games is the popularization of sports and the promotion of healthy lifestyle, and thus the forthcoming Games will provide the necessary conditions for mass engagement in sports, create favorable conditions for the education of a physically strong young generation, and the training of high-class athletes. Meanwhile, the international significance of the event is that the Games, while being the strongest stimulus for the development of mass sports in our country, will also demonstrate the full potential of the state and will serve to strengthen Turkmenistan's authority in the world.
Already today, thanks to the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan, the scale of the mass athletic and health movement is expanding, high achieving sports are rising to new heights, Turkmen coaches and athletes are receiving versatile help and support and winning medals and prizes of highest standards at prestigious international competitions.
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan developed a good tradition to dedicate the spring month of April to health and sports. During this month, many sports and recreational activities are held throughout the country, dedicated to the Year of Health and Inspiration initiated by the President G.M. Berdymukhamedov. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the International Sport Congress on the topic of “Asian Games-2017: International Sports Cooperation for Peace and Progress", held on April 7th in the Avaza national tourism zone, aimed at acquainting the world sports community with the work carried out in this area and promoting mutually beneficial information exchange. This event was arranged in honor of World Health Day. In addition to high-ranking representatives of the sports sector, the National Olympic Committees of the countries participating in the Fifth Asian Games, the leaders of the Olympic Council of Asia, international sports federations, prominent political and public figures also took part in the forum and other events in Avaza. Among them are the president of the Olympic Council of Asia and the Association of National Olympic Committees Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah; the head of the International Association Meibukan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Yagi Meitatsu; the head of the Asian Chess Federation Sheikh Sultan Khalifa Sultan Shahbut Al Nahayan; the famous American golfer and the founder of the company "Niklaus Design" Jack Nicklaus; the many times world champion and Olympic Games champion Irina Rodnina; and others.
Celebrations on the occasion of World Health Day in Avaza have been marked by many important events. Among these events are: with the participation of the head of Turkmenistan the opening of a large sports complex that has enhanced the infrastructure of the sea resort; meetings held by the leader of the nation with representatives of foreign state entities and international organizations, foreign businessmen; and much more. In view of outstanding personal contributions to the development of sports movement and cooperation in this area, the President of Turkmenistan G.M. Berdimuhamedov was awarded the 10th dan karate-do by the International Association Meibukan Goju-Ryu Karate-do. For the high contribution to the development of the national chess school, the promotion of education and support of children's and youth sports, the preservation of the rich culture and traditions of the country, the strengthening of friendship and cooperation among peoples, the leader of the nation was awarded the honorable title of "Man of the Year" by the Asian Chess Federation.
In the meantime, Turkmenistan also recently celebrated the holiday of the Turkmen horse, which is commemorated annually at the end of April. As is well known, in the years following independence, the original traditions have been revived and the glory of the national horse breeding has been multiplying. The development of Akhal-Teke horse breeding has been elevated to the rank of a state policy priority. Measures are being implemented to further develop the horse breeding industry, modernize its infrastructure, increase the number of thoroughbred Akhal-Tekes, intensify international cooperation in this field, and propagate various types of equestrian sports and national traditions of riding. The results of this work are the magnificent equestrian centers built in Turkmenistan. Currently, three universities in Turkmenistan are carrying out theoretical training. New job specialties related to horse breeding are taught in the Turkmen Agricultural University and the National Institute of Sports and Tourism, and the Turkmen State Institute of Culture trains stage and circus artists. A specialized magazine "Celestial Akhalteke horses" published by the International Association of Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding, as well as the eponymous website of the State Information Agency draw attention of the readers from dozens of countries, with the aim of widely promoting the art of native horse breeding.
Within the framework of the above-mentioned celebrations, and in particular during the Seventh Meeting of the International Association of Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding, the President of Turkmenistan was presented with the honorable award of the International Equestrian Federation - cup, medal and diploma - for his great personal contribution to the development of equestrian sports in Turkmenistan. A new international recognition of the horse breeding developments on the initiative of President G.M. Berdimuhamedov in modern Turkmenistan was the presentation of a certificate from the Council of the World Organization for Animal Health to confirm the status of Turkmenistan as a zone free from horse diseases. To date, Turkmenistan is the only country in Central Asia that has such a significant status. This decision is a testament to Turkmenistan's high international prestige, a sign of trust and recognition of undoubted successes in the field of horse breeding and veterinary medicine.
In continuation of this theme, it should be noted that at the initiative of President Berdimuhamedov, competition in jumping, as well as national wrestling, was included in the program of the forthcoming Fifth Asian Games, which in turn will promote the popularity of equestrian sport among young people and the proliferation of fame of the Turkmen horse.
In summary, it is important to emphasize that sports are now a priority direction of the state policy of Turkmenistan. The country has adopted the National Program for the Support and Development of Sports and Physical Education for 2011-2020, and much work is being done to raise public awareness on nutrition, control of tobacco use, popularization of sports and healthy lifestyle among all stratums of population. Today, all state and public institutions partake in this important work, and coordinating committees for various programs in the field of public health have been established. To preserve the purity of Turkmen sports and coordinate the fight against doping in sports, Turkmenistan is beginning to establish a systemic cooperation with the World Doping Agency. The National Anti-Doping Agency was created. Thus, the slogan "The health of the nation-the wealth of the country", without exaggeration, becomes an attribute of the daily life of the majority of citizens in Turkmenistan.