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2014 †N11-12(116-117)
It is for sure that the 12th World Belt Wrestling Championship and the first Turkmen National Wrestling Goresh World Championship in Ashgabat were the main sport events in Turkmenistan in 2014. Representatives of Turkmenistan demonstrate stronger performance at major international competitions year by year. Turkmenistan has also become more experienced in organizing large-scale sport events, and now the country can boast hosting world championship events.
The opening of the World Championship 2014 at the National Institute of Sports and Tourism of Turkmenistan was preceded by the meeting of the Executive Committee of IBWA. The meeting emphasized that Ashgabat was chosen as a venue of the World Championship in recognition of Turkmenistan's special contribution to the development of belt wrestling. Turkmen National Wrestling Goresh is one of the many martial arts of the peoples of the world. Goresh techniques are about wrestling by gripping each other's belts. Over the millennia, competitions of local wrestlers (called Palvan) were part of all holidays and celebrations of Turkmen people. The best Goresh wrestlers were glorified in legend and poems. Stories about Goresh events were passed on by word of mouth. Sometimes, these stories told people about Goresh wrestlers receiving not only material rewards but also a crown of unfading glory in the memory of posterity.
In the history of different nations of the world belt wrestling has long been a traditional fun during national holidays. It is only in this century that this kind of martial arts has been developed as an independent kind of sport, following the establishment of the International Belt Wrestling Association (IBWA) that consists of the national federation of 70 countries.
Around 200 wrestlers from 23 countries competed for the title of best belt wrestler and Goresh wrestler at the World Championship. They contested 27 sets of medals in four events - in total 108 gold, silver and bronze medals. Best belt wrestlers from around the world came to Ashgabat. Each team aspired to win the top medals. Countries with strong national traditions of belt wrestling, such as the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine sent very strong teams. Turkmenistan as the organizer of the championship put two teams totaling 53 people (43 men and 10 women). Before the World Championship, Turkmen sportsmen held several trainings, participated in several international competitions and came fully prepared to the home World Championship.
The opening ceremony of the World Championship was held in Sports and Recreation Complex "Galkynysh." The participants of the championship were welcomed by President of the International Belt Wrestling Association Ruslan Makhmutov and Minister of Sport of Monaco Jol Bouzou, who praised the organization of the championship and expressed confidence that the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat will be a success. The festive atmosphere was complemented with cheerful songs and dances performed by musical groups and exhibition wrestling by sportsmen of the sports schools of the city of Ashgabat.
The sports festival that lasted in the Turkmen capital for three days was crowned with a triumphant victory of the host country. They won sixteen medals out of 32 possible in Goresh wrestling alone! Turkmen wrestlers won eight gold, seven silver and one bronze medals in hard duels in eight weight categories. Only one silver and the rest of bronze medals went to the wrestlers from other countries.
In general, looking at the results of the championship, the national team of Turkmenistan had an overwhelming advantage. It got 45 medals (16 gold, 14 silver and 15 bronze). Turkmenistan had a significant lead over its closest competitor -the Russian team, yet on the eve of the World Championship Turkmen wrestlers ranked only second after the Russian team in the world team ranking.
The Russian team came second. They won 16 medals (5 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze). The third place went to the Ukrainian team: 9 medals (2 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze).
Here is how President of the International Belt Wrestling Association Ruslan MAKHMUTOV commented on the results of the championship:
- Speaking of the sport achievements of Turkmenistan, it should be noted that popularity of physical culture and sports is growing in the country day by day. This is not surprising, given that the head of state, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, personally promotes the sports disciplines. He is well aware of the fact that a physically strong and spiritually rich man is the greatest value of society.
I have already had a chance to visit Turkmenistan and get acquainted with the state of development of the sport. Construction of sports facilities in the country is going at a fast pace. The under-construction Olympic Village impresses with its scale and modern technical solutions. It has no equal in the region. I saw a lot of modern sports schools that were built in the country, where young sportsmen learn sport techniques. Indeed, this is a true care of the future generation, future victories in the world sports arenas. I was pleased to see that all educational and preschool institutions built in the country in recent years have modern gyms, basketball and volleyball courts, swimming pools, tennis courts and many other sport facilities.
Speaking of wrestling in particular, the Turkmen sportsmen take a leading position in this kind of sport in the world ranking. This is no coincidence if we recall centuries-old traditions of Turkmen wrestling and immense popularity of this sport among young people. I have no doubt that the Turkmen wrestlers will continue winning top medals at the biggest international competitions.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005