By The Korea Post Reporters Ms. Linda Youn and John Kim
The Korean team at the 5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games (Ashgabat 2017) won a total of 15 Gold medals, 11 Sivers and 15 Bronzes throughout the 15-day contest that ended on Sept. 27 that began on Sept. on Sept. 17. The Korean team placed seventh among a total of 65 countries taking part in the Games.
That final bit of procedure came when President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan declared the Games officially over in his opening remarks at the closing Ceremony on Sept. 27, 2017.
With the Ashgabat 2017 flame going out and the President of Turkmenistan watching on, the people of Turkmenistan and all those present the closing ceremony were able to unite for one final celebration in the sold-out, 45,000-seat Ashgabat Olympic Stadium.
As the Balich Worldwide Shows-produced Closing Ceremony brought wonder, thrills, and so many fond memories of the past 12 days to center stage in a beautiful, colorful, and star-studded production that closed out the best ever AIMAG in a truly fitting manner.
Wednesday’s show was an experience in light and sound, choreography and projection, and incredible performances from start to finish, all in the name of celebrating sport, athletes, and the people behind the scenes who made it all happen - with a special acknowledgment of the thousands of First Star volunteers without whom Ashgabat 2017 could never have happened.
With an opening sequence inspired by the Turkmen winds that would be one of the four natural themes upon which the rest of the ceremony would ride upon, the ceremony began by reintroducing the ancient culture of Turkmenistan and its people before moving to a high-action dance sequence illustrating all of the 21 sports that were contested at Ashgabat 2017.
After this it was time to look back at some of the greatest highlights of the Games with a video montage. From the incredible six gold medals won in Belt and Traditional Wrestling by Turkmenistan’s own Seydi Batyrow, to the world record-setting performance in the men’s -94kg Weightlifting class by Iran’s Sohrab Moradi, to the dozens upon dozens of magical moments in between, the highlight-reel package reminded us once again why sport is such a wonderful force in the world.
From here the show moved on to some wonderful artistic segments, with flowers, sea waves, and the beat of the land all dictating the direction of the next movements, before the ceremony switched gears one more time, moving toward an ending with a bang.
The grand finale could only be described as the Party sequence, featuring heart-pumping live performances from a series of international stars, including Russia’s Nyusha, Lebanon’s Elissa, John Newman from the United Kingdom, and more than a dozen of the best and brightest musical performers from Turkmenistan, including Parahat Amadurdyyew, Gulsat Gurdowa, and Annaguly Myratdurdyyew.
And there in the magnificent Ashgabat Olympic Stadium, with the music pumping, the glowsticks waving in the crowd, and fireworks exploding overhead, the Ashgabat 2017 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games came to a close on an incredible high, sending all who were a part of this magnificent Games home with memories they will no doubt cherish forever.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan brought the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games to a close in a party atmosphere at the Ashgabat Olympic Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The games, which were awarded to Ashgabat by the Olympic Council of Asia in 2010, opened on September 17 and have involved 6,000 athletes and officials from 65 teams – 45 from the OCA, 19 from Oceania and the African Refugee Team.
Thirteen of the 15 competition venues for the 21 sports were located in the Ashgabat Olympic Complex, and the 45,000-capacity Ashgabat Olympic Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremony.
The closing ceremony began with the arrival of the athletes, before the OCA President, HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, addressed the audience.
He said the success of the games would not have been possible without the “vision and day-to-day involvement” of President Berdimuhamedov.
“This has been a wonderful journey for all of us,” he said. “Thank you for inviting us to your country and your capital Ashgabat. Congratulations on the best ever Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games!
“This is the end of the games. But it is not the end of our friendship and partnership. Ashgabat – we will see you again. We love you,” said Sheikh Ahmad, to cheers from a full house.
Sheikh Ahmad described the venues as “world-class”, and said he was convinced that Ashgabat had the capability to host more major international events.
“The games have been an outstanding success,” he said. “We have witnessed special games in a special city and will go home with special memories.”
Sheikh Ahmad also thanked the 8,000 yellow-shirted volunteers for their support and said they had been the smiling and hospitable face of the games, the city and of Turkmenistan.
President Berdimuhamedov then declared the games closed, and the flame in the cauldron behind the giant statue of a horse’s head overlooking the stadium slowly faded away.
The rest of the evening was filled by a short cultural performance before the stadium was transformed into a pop concert with acts from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as from the British pop star John Newman, best known for the track “Love Me Again”.
The closing ceremony ended with an extravagant fireworks display before President Berdimuhamedov waved to the crowd from the VIP balcony and left the stadium alongside Sheikh Ahmad.
Members of the Korean Indoor Martial Arts Team attended a welcome ceremony at the Welcome Ceremony Plaza in the Ashgabat City of Turkmenistan on Sept. 16, 2017.
The opening ceremony was attended by over 150 members of five national teams (Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lao Republic, Samoa and Tajikistan). The participating Korean team comprised Team Leader Nam Sang-hyun and over 30 members from Track & Field, Taekwondo Martial Arts and Weight-lifting teams.
Ambassador Chung Tae-yun of Korea in Turkmenistan visited the Korean team and welcomed the participation of the Korean team in the Games.
The welcome ceremony consisted of a welcome message, exchange of gifts among the team leaders, hosting of National Flags and presentation of traditional Turkmenistani performing arts.
The Korean team completing the entry in the Athletes Village consisted of a total of 46 persons including 11 indoor sports persons, 11 Taekwondoists, seven weight lifters, and a number of competent Korean sports organization officers.