ISLAMABAD-Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat is all set to host Vth Asian Indoor and Martial Games 2017 from September 17 to 27.

Addressing a press conference at Jinnah Hall, Pakistan Sports Complex on Monday, the four-member visiting delegation, under the command of senior journalist Annayev Yazmyrat, announced that 95 percent renovation and up-gradation work of the Olympic Stadium was completed with minor things left before the mega event.

Yazmyrat said: “The very first of its kind, the Games are going to be held in Central Asian country, as none of the Central Asian states has the honour of conducting such a huge event before, in which more than 5,000 athletes of 44 Asian countries will showcase their talent and vie for top honours.

“We are inviting around 2,000 sports journalists across the globe to cover the event and we have established state-of-the-art accommodation and facilities for the visiting guests and we are also expecting around 100,000 foreign spectators to throng Ashgabat,” he added.

Revealing the purpose of visiting Pakistan, the Turkmenistan journalist said: “We came to Pakistan with the aim of further cementing the brotherly and cordial ties between the two nations. We are enjoying excellent relations and our President and Pakistani Prime Minister have visited each other’s country and signed a number of bilateral agreements. Sports are the most powerful way of mending differences and bring different cultures and nations closer. So we hope this event will bring us closer to each other.”

Informing about the silent features of the upcoming Games, he said: “The 2010 Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) meeting was held in Kuwait City where OCA and National Olympic Committee of Turkmenistan and the administration of Ashgabat city signed an agreement ‘on conducting the Vth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat in 2017’.

“In same year, the foundation for the Olympic Village was laid in Ashgabat, which is located on an area of 157 hectares. The complex includes over 30 different facilities, including social living, transportation and other infrastructures. The total cost of the facilities is five billion dollars, the construction of the village was carried out in three stages, as the first stage of construction was completed in 2014 while the second stage was completed in December 2015.

“In January 2013, Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed a decree on the establishment of the organising committee of the Vth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. The president proposed to include two more games, as earlier it was agreed 19 games would be held, which included the Turkmen national wrestling named goresh and horseback riding (konkur), the proposal was accepted by the OCA and jointly approved,” he added.

Earlier, the delegation, along with Pakistan Sports Writers Federation (PSWF) president Amjed Aziz Malik, secretary Zahid Farooq Mlik along with RISJA president Mohsin Ali, Nasir Abbas Naqvi and Arif Mehmood met with IPC minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, IPC secretary Raja Nadir Hussain and PSB DG Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera at the minister’s office.

The IPC minister welcomed the delegation and assured his all-out support to the PSWF and lauded Pakistan-Turkmenistan relations. Delegation head Annayev Yazmyrat invited the minster and PSB DG to visit Ashgabat, which both accepted and promised to send a large contingent to feature in the mega event. The delegation visited the Pakistan Sports Complex and witnessed the facilities available at the complex.

Later, the delegation also visited The Nation office in Islamabad and met with The Nation Resident Editor Salman Masood. They thanked The Nation for giving special coverage to the recently-concluded championship in Ashgabat and invited Salman Masood to visit Turkmenistan to cover the mega event.