Turkmen Belt Wrestlers grappling with high hopes of a nation
In the basement of the Ashgabat Stadium, Turkmen Belt Wrestlers are stepping up their training day after day in the hope of winning numerous medals at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, starting on Sunday in the Turkmenistan capital.
The seven-year wait is nearly over for this proud nation to host the biggest ever sporting event ever held in the Central Asian region, and many of the Turkmen Belt Wrestlers began making their medal plans the moment the tournament was awarded to Turkmenistan back in 2010.
Tirkshgeldi Ayazov, who will also compete in Traditional Wrestling, is one of more than 100 Wrestlers vying for a gold medal at Ashgabat 2017, and the excitement is almost too much for the 24-year-old.
“It's the first time that these Games are in Ashgabat and I am excited about the thought of winning a medal here,” he said. “I'm getting really nervous about the Games because I'm running out of time to train.
“If I win a gold medal, I think I might cry because it will be an emotional moment. My family will be here and millions of people will be watching the competition on television.”
Many others, like Medet Hallygurbanov, are beginning to experience similar emotions.
“It's the first time I have been so nervous,” he said. “We want to win here. We've been training so many years for this moment. We've put everything into these Games.”
The native of Balkan who won a gold medal in the 60kg weight category at the Asian Championships in Ashgabat in 2016 said it’s not unusual that they are all experiencing a little bit of anxiety right now.
“We're all like brothers in Wrestling because we spend so much time together,” he said. “We train together, go to competitions together, go to other countries together. We are like a family. We’re in it together.”
Gylych Jumayev, who is one of the older wrestlers at 29, said standing on the podium would mean so much to him.
“I want to win at these Games for our Esteemed President, for the country, for my family and myself,” he said.
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