5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games formally opens

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ASHGABAT, (Turkmenistan), Sept 17 (APP): The 5th Asian Indoor
and
Martial Arts Games got under way on Sunday with 6000 athletes from 65 countries – 45
countries across Asia and 19 countries from Oceana with
one contingent of the refugees taking part in 21 disciplines.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berimuhamedov, Sheikh Ahmad
Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President Olympic Committee of Asia, President of Pakistan
Mamnoon Hussain, President World Sports Journalist Body (AIPs)
Gianni Marlo (Itlay), Secretary General AIPS Amjad Aziz Malik (Pakistan) along with other
dignitaries formally inaugurated the Games.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berimuhamedov and Sheikh
Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President Olympic Committee of Asia delivered
their speeches. A traditional 500 horse rally marking the opening day, followed by
colourful ceremony held at the newly built Ashgabat Olympic Stadium with a cost of US$
5 billion, it was packed with spectators, as Turkmenistan became the first Central Asian
country organizing the event under the supervision of the OCA and IOC.
The 135-member Pakistan contingent led by Chef de Mission Amjad
Ali Khan, Secretary IPC and President Pakistan Olympic Association Lt.
Gen (Retd) Arif Hassan marched past the main arena. The Pakistani flag
was carried by Shahzeb Janjua, who won the first gold medal along
with Muhammad Rafique Siddique in Men Duo Show event of the Ju-Jitsu on Saturday.
In his speech, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said that the
opening ceremony had become one of the most memorable moments of any
international multi-sports Games.
He said it gave the host city and the country the chance to
display their proud history and culture. It also brought together the athletes from various
countries and regions to share the special
experience.
He said: “The ceremony sets the scene for what is to come over
the next few days, highlighting not only the sports action but the
feeling of unity and solidarity among all participants to make the Games
a success.”
He said, this includes the athletes, coaches, team officials,
media and sponsors and of course, the spectators – who play such an important part in
an event, like this. On behalf of the Olympic Council
of Asia it is truly an honor for me to greet everyone on the occasion. Tonight is truly a
moment that Turkmenistan has been looking forward
since we have the honor of being awarded the Games in Dec 2010.
In his speech, President of Turkmenistan said the sports was
very much important for the youth and the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games would
bring more to the youth of Ashgabat, besides helping in
spreading brotherhood and exchange of culture.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that
the horse run would be a great reflection of his country’s rich cultural, historical and
cultural heritage.
Pakistani athletes on Saturday put in a great show, especially in Jujitsu where they
grabbed a gold, two silver and three bronze medals,
besdies a bronze in traditional wrestling (by Ambareen). Pakistan has
a good chance of winning more medals in athletics, relay and men’s hurdles.
Olympians Maria Maratab, Mehboob Ali and Rabia Ashaq, and Zeenat, made a good
athletic side.
Pakistan will begin its athletic journey on Monday, as many as
seven male and four female athletes will part of the action. Secretary Athletic Federation
of Pakistan Muhammad Zafar is hopeful of solid show
from the athletes.
“We have done lot of hard work and I am sure enough the athlete
would spring surprise,” he added. After winning a bronze medal a senior official of the
Pakistan Wrestling Federation told APP that the country would be looking for more
medals in belt wrestling to be starting on (Monday). Similarly, Pakistan Weightlifting side
would start its
expedition from Sept. 20, Furqan Ahamd, Usman Amjad Rathor, Jamil Akhtar
are part of the Pakistan Squad.
Meanwhile, Isra Ilyas and Muhammad Faheem will begin medal quest
in Taekwondo on September 18-22. In the Traditional Wrestling Pakistan
only won one medal as Adnan Rana in -62kg, and Muhammad Saeed in -57kg
were disqualified and Benish Khan lost to Gulmira of Turkmenistan
in -70kg and Basit lost in 100kg weight against Samandar of Tajikistan
by 2-0 points.
Pakistan stands overall at fourth at the medal table on the
second day, winning seven medals, one gold, two silver and four bronze. Turkmenistan
with 16 gold, 14 silver and 7 bronze leading at the top
with 37 medals, Uzbekistan with two gold, three silver and eight bronze, Thailand is third
with two gold, two silver and three bronze.