The magazine is registered by the Federal Service for Supervision of Compliance with Legislation Governing Mass Communications and Protection of Cultural Heritage, certificate of registration ÏÈ ¹ ÔÑ77-21265 of 08.06.2005  
2023  N11-12(225-226)
It seems it was just recently that the national belt wrestling, which is very popular among the Turkic peoples, was perceived like some kind of colorful action of any big ethnic holiday, like some kind of popular fun, when folk hero athletes had a chance to demonstrate their wrestling skills. Goresh, kures, kuresh, kurash, kuryash, koresh – these are the specifics of pronunciation in language dialects that have not changed the essence of fair belt wrestling that requires not only physical strength but also agility and quick thinking.
The wide popularity of this type of martial arts could not but lead to the establishment of international cooperation for development of folk wrestling. It is no coincidence that on September 6, 1998, the International Kurash Association was established in Tashkent with participation of representatives of 28 countries of Asia, Africa and Europe. And already in May 1999, the first World Kurash Wrestling Championship was held in Tashkent.
In this sport, the apparent simplicity and ease of arranging the training process are combined with glorious centuries-old cultural traditions. This has largely contributed to the fact that kurash has become one of the most popular sports not only in the region but also in the world. The International Kurash Association (IKA) currently accounts for 118 national federations from Asia (32 countries), Africa (22), Europe (33), North and South America (22) and Oceania (9). Enthusiasts claim that the day is not far off when national Turkic wrestling will be included in the program of the Olympic Games.
Today, the fact that a popular fun has turned into a high-performance sport is evidenced by the highest level of skills and extreme competition demonstrated at international championships of the ancient wrestling art. One of such international championships of the best world kurash wrestlers was held in Ashgabat.
The opening ceremony of the 14th World Kurash Wrestling Championships brought together more than 240 athletes from 46 countries in the Olympic village of the Turkmen capital, who competed for 15 sets of medals in seven men’s and eight women’s weight categories over two days.
President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov congratulated the participants of the World Kurash Wrestling Championship on the opening of the competition. “We consider sport an important area of cooperation with the countries of the world and an incentive to strengthen friendly relations between peoples... I strongly believe that during the days of the World Kurash Wrestling Championship in the Olympic village of Ashgabat, our foreign guests will enjoy the atmosphere of a sports festival, feel the hospitality of the Turkmens and get unforgettable impressions of our sunny country,” the President of Turkmenistan noted.
On the first day of the championship, wrestlers competed for medals and prizes in three men weight categories and five women weight categories, and in each of them Turkmen kurash masters were awarded medals. Dinara Rozykulova (weight category up to 63 kg) brought the first gold to the Turkmenistan team. Maria Lokhova (up to 70 kg) won the second gold medal in the Turkmenistan team. Silver medals in the Turkmenistan team were awarded to Ayshirin Khaydarova (up to 48 kg), Aynur Amanova (up to 52 kg) and Sanzhar Abdyrakhmanov (up to 90 kg). Bronze medals for the Turkmenistan team were won by Gulshat Annaeva (up to 57 kg), Ruslan Esgerov (up to 100 kg) and Sapa Sapaev (over 100 kg).
On the second and final day of the tournament, the Turkmenistan team’s medal box was replenished with seven more medals – three gold, three silver and one bronze. Vepa Avlyakuliev (up to 60 kg) brought the third gold medal to the Turkmenistan team. The fourth gold medal in the Turkmenistan team was won by world championship debutant Sabina Kadyrova (up to 78 kg). The fifth gold medal in the Turkmenistan team was won by Dayanch Omirov (up to 81 kg). Shatlyk Jumanyyazov (up to 73 kg), Jahan Muhammedova (up to 87 kg) and Sabina Agadzhanova (over 87 kg) were awarded silver medals in the Turkmenistan team. Dovlet Khemrakulyev (up to 66 kg) won the bronze medal for the Turkmenistan team.
In total, the wrestlers of Turkmenistan won 15 medals at the home world kurash wrestling championship – five gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze.
With such performance the Turkmen wrestlers significantly outpaced other teams in terms of the total number of medals (15), losing in the team standing by the total number of gold medals only to the Uzbekistan team that won 7 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medals. The top three winners included the Kazakhstan team, whose wrestlers won 1 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals.
A media forum was held at the conference hall of the Sport Hotel in the Olympic village of Ashgabat on the outcomes of the championship. The forum for representatives of the international mass media was also attended by the leaders of the International Kurash Association (IKA), the African Kurash Union (AKU), the European Kurash Confederation (EKC), the State Sports Committee and the National Olympic Committee of Turkmenistan and other organizations.
Opening the media forum, President of the International Kurash Association Haydar Farman congratulated everyone on the successful completion of the World Kurash Wrestling Championship in Ashgabat and expressed gratitude to Turkmenistan for its contribution to the success of this grand sporting event. At the media forum, it was noted that the Ashgabat World Kurash Wrestling Championship was of great interest to the international media. The championship was broadcast live on a number of television channels in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as on the Internet.
Individual programs and videos dedicated to this tournament were broadcast on many international television channels. In addition, materials about the World Kurash Wrestling Championship were published by the International Sports Press Association and the Asian Sports Press Union. The work of foreign mass media accredited in Turkmenistan was also noted at the media forum.
It is important to stress that the very fact of the successful hosting of the regular high-level international competition in Turkmenistan confirms the high reputation of the country in the international sports movement.
Another convincing evidence of this is the fact that literally on the eve of the Ashgabat World Kurash Wrestling Championship Turkmenistan was unanimously elected to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee on Physical Culture and Sports for 2023–2027. This committee was established in 1978 in order to increase the role and importance of sport and promote sport issues in the national policies of the UN member states.
It should be noted that Turkmenistan was elected to this UNESCO structure for the period 2017–2021 and actively participated in its activities. Having identified physical education and sports as one of the priority vectors of state policy, Ashgabat works towards strengthening the effective international cooperation in this area in both bilateral and multilateral formats.
Maintaining partnerships with UNESCO, the IOC, the Olympic Council of Asia and other organizations, Turkmenistan is strengthening its position as one of the recognized international sports centers.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005