Captain’s golden rallying call for Turkmen 3x3 women
The captain of the Turkmenistan women’s 3x3 Basketball team has declared that they will settle for nothing less than gold when the Ashgabat 2017 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games are held from 17–27 September.
Ayna Gokova said that they couldn’t be better prepared for the challenge ahead when they will come up against the best teams from Asia and Oceania at the biggest multi-sport event ever held in Central Asia.
“With each passing day we are more and more ready to win,” said Ayna, who has been at the helm for two years. “We are confident of winning the top prize at the Games.”
The Ashgabat native said that training overseas in Serbia earlier this year helped with their preparations by gaining experience from some of the best players in the world.
“Basketball is the top sport in Serbia so there are a lot of good players who we learned from,” she said. “We returned from there much stronger physically. We have changed the way we play. These training camps help the team to play better.”
She also pointed out that the chance for the squad to spend so much time together in Serbia has helped them forge a fomidable team spirit.
“As the captain, my job is to bring the team together,” said Ayna. “I always try to ensure there is a friendly atmosphere and to smooth out any misunderstandings so that everything is stress free. In women's Basketball, anything can happen. There can be a lot of emotions. I'm constantly reassuring them that we are committed. That we work as a team.”
The captain said that she was introduced to the game at the age of eight, and at 190cm tall she has excelled at the sport.
“Basketball chose me,” she said. “I'm very tall. I came to school one day and I just started playing. I really enjoyed it.”
Ayna has been on the team for eight years and has participated in a number of international events. One of the highlights was winning bronze at the 2013 FIBA Asia 3x3 Championships in Doha, Qatar.
With an inspirational and confident skipper like Ayna at the helm, the home crowd can look forward to a big showing from their 3x3 Basketball women at Ashgabat 2017.
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