Turkmen sprinters ready to run away with gold medals
When the track and field competitions of the Ashgabat 2017 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games open at the Indoor Athletics Arena on September 18, fans will be looking forward to the thrilling action.
Indoor Athletics, which promises to be among the most exciting competitions at Ashgabat 2017, will feature some of Asia’s top stars.
Turkmenistan’s strongest medal prospects at the competition are two sprinters: Alisher Sadulayev and Valentina Meredova.
Alisher, whose best time in 60m (6.6sec) came at the Turkmenistan National Championships on 27 January, said he was looking forward to the bigger challenge ahead: “I’m a native of Ashgabat and when I run in September, I’ll be doing so in front of my home fans. That thought alone is enough to power me ahead. But I know it’s not going to be an easy race.
“Sprinters from China, Qatar and Japan are likely to give me a tough fight. But I think I will have home advantage, and I will make the best use of it.”
The 20 year old has been in great form this season, reaching outdoor personal best marks in both 100m (10.83) and 200m (21.83) at the recent Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Alisher, who will compete in both the 60m and 4 x 400m Relay at Ashgabat 2017, recalled his first baby steps into the sport.
“My school’s physical education teacher found my talent first and asked me to join the track and field team. I competed as a 400m runner for several years. Though it may sound strange, I became a sprinter at the insistence of my friends. Their observation that I would fare much better over shorter distances proved accurate” said Alisher, who adores Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt.
Valentina, at 33, is one of the oldest and most experienced members of the Turkmen track and field team. In addition to competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, she has appeared in three IAAF Indoor Championships (2006,2008 and 2016), three Outdoor World Championships (2005, 2007 and 2015) and two Asian Games (2006 and 2014).
The current 60m national record holder (7.64sec) said she would try to improve her performance further in September.
“I set the national record last year, during the Asian Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar. I’m healthy and I feel confident about improving my mark again in Ashgabat. “My husband, who is also my biggest source of strength, and my daughter, will be at the stadium to cheer me on. They’ll give me a huge mental boost.”
Athletic talent runs Valentina’s family, as her brother Serdar Annaorazov plies his trade as a defender in the Turkmen national football team.
Valentina began her track and field career under the watchful eyes of Asymyradow Baymyrat while still at school and continues with him to this day. She hopes to give her coach the ultimate sporting gift in September.
“He’s been with me throughout my journey and I want to give him the perfect gift, a medal at home. I’m hoping I’ll be able to fulfill this dream.”
Chinese sprinters Yuan Qiqi, Wei Yongli and Tao Yujia are likely to give her the toughest competition in Ashgabat.
Meanwhile, Bahtiyar Rozyev will represent Turkmenistan in the Long Jump and Triple Jump disciplines.
“I’m a third generation athlete from my family. I inherited my sporting genes from my grandmother Hasiyat Torayeva and mother Gulnara Rozyev, who were both track athletes. I too started my career as a runner, but then switched to jumps. I think it was the right decision for me.”
Rozayev has a personal best of 7.04m in Long Jump and 14.85m in Triple Jump.
Begmyrat Makgayev, Eziz Sahetniyazov (both 400m) and Perhat Annagylyjow (1500m) are all expected to feature in Turkmenistan’s team for Ashgabat 2017.
The Indoor Athletics competitions will run between 18¬−20 September at the Indoor Athletics Arena.
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