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Asian medal a big motivator for Turkmen Kickboxer at Ashgabat 2017

14 September, 2017 (18:24)
Tags: Turkmenistan, Kickboxing

As some of the world’s leading athletes continue to arrive in Ashgabat for the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which get underway on Sunday, the home grown talent appears to be confident of being among the medals.

Out of the 6,000 athletes and officials flooding into Turkmenistan from 65 delegations across Asia and Oceania, few are feeling more confident of putting on a good show than Kickboxer Mustafa Najmuddin, who has already won this year at Asian level in the host country’s capital city.

Najmuddin, 25, clinched a bronze medal when his country hosted the Asian Kickboxing Championships earlier this year, and believes it provided him with some timely motivation to repeat a podium performance next week.

“The bronze medal made me really motivated,” said Najmuddin, who calls Turkmenabat home. “I feel that I have grown up for these Games and I want to win, I really want to win. I am ready. It's important for me to win in Turkmenistan.”

Mustafa, who coaches 75 children in his gym in his hometown, started to kickbox when he was 14.

“I don't know why but I liked Kickboxing,” he said. “When I was little, I watched a lot of films that showed Kickboxing.

“I visited the gym and started training in Kickboxing. You can hit with your hands and legs. It's a very tough sport, but I like tough sports.

“I started competing in 2008. It took me three years to be good enough. I have worked and trained very hard.” 

He has gone on to win 12 national titles in various categories, but his biggest achievement came with that medal at his home event which doubled as a test event for Ashgabat 2017. 

“Before this, I was fighting in low contact,” he said. “I had just three months to train for this so I was delighted to have picked up a medal. Since then I have stepped up my training to three times a day as I will face some formidable opposition. They are all good. Kazak, Uzbek, Iran. They are all good fighters and will be good opponents for me.”

If glory does come his way, it will not be just for him.

“I want to win for my Esteemed President and my country,” he said. “I also want to win for my coach and for my family.”

But most of all, he wants to do well for his students.

“They watch me and they are proud of me,” he said. “I want to achieve something for them. I want to be a good example for them and I want them to achieve good results too. I want them to do even better than me in the future.” 

The men and women's Kickboxing competitions take place from 23–26 September at the Muaythai Kickboxing Arena.

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