Raviliya Kadyrova and Elvira Kadyrova
Ashgabat, 25 September 2017 (nCa) — Ashgabat 2017 will wrap up in a few days, and Turkmenistan is leading in the medal count by a wide margin.
We attended quite a few matches, mostly semi finals and finals. It was an educative experience in so many different ways.
Of course, the athletes and sportsmen of Turkmenistan had the advantage of the home crowd, which is universally a big advantage wherever the international sporting events take place.
What we saw during all these suspense-laden matches was that the home crowd cheered the national teams without booing the opposing side. They actively encouraged their own players but there was no discouraging behavior aimed at the opponents. And, there was fair degree of cheering and applause even when the Turkmen side faced a rare defeat.
This is sportsman spirit. This can be taught but it mostly comes from within.
The sportsman spirit is described as the ability to enjoy the sports activities for their own sake, with due consideration for fairness, ethics, respect and sense of fellowship with the opposing side.
Once the sportsman spirit awakens in a nation, it doesn’t remain restricted to the sports field. —– The pronounced sense of fairness, ethics, respect and sense of fellowship for the other side accompanies the people in every situation.
The sportsman spirit is what helps create win-win solutions in every real life situation.
This is one of the major benefits of hosting Ashgabat 2017 – the remarkable growth of the sportsman spirit.
Apart from the sportsman spirit, which was impossible not to notice, we saw that the kids took home very valuable lessons and lifetime memories.
To facilitate the children to attend the games, Turkmenistan had announced special holidays in all the educational establishments in Ashgabat. This was helpful in enabling the parents and elders to take the younger children to the Games. The teenage students mostly arrived on their own.
The children saw the best sporting talent in Asia and Oceania competing in the medal events. They learned from direct observation that hard work, dedication and discipline can unlock the talent. Looking at the athletes who were close to their age or somewhat older, they hopefully discovered that inspiration is very useful but it is the discipline that wins in the end.
The children, according to their individual inclinations, acquired new heroes and role models from the vast Turkmen contingent that harvested medals every day. They will surely follow their progress and growth in the coming years and some of them will actively start in their footprints.
This was the first international sporting event where Turkmenistan participated in a big way and proved its prowess in a wide range of sporting skills. The path has been cut for the youth. This is definitely an important benefit of hosting the Games in Ashgabat.
There were other benefits of hosting the Games we noticed.
The Olympic Village, for security reasons, was closed to private vehicles and entry was strictly on pre-registration badges or tickets. The city traffic management anticipated correctly that the people going to the Olympic Village will face difficulty in finding transport to and from the stadium. They also foresaw rightly that there would be bigger crowd whenever the Turkmen side reaches semi finals or finals.
For this reason, the urban transport authorities stationed adequate number of buses and taxis at the main gate of the Olympic Village, ready to take the tired but happy spectators home. Perhaps there was some kind of coordination between the Olympics organizers and the transport authorities because every time we came out of the stadium we saw that there were enough numbers of buses and taxis to accommodate the entire crowd.
This is a benefit of hosting the Games in the sense that it provided real-life situations for urban transport authorities to deal with extraordinary and large crowds going in different directions from the same starting point.
The restaurant and cafes inside Olympic Village were well stocked and affordable, for people cheer on their bellies.
As the days passed, we noticed that the range of food items and eatables changed to suit the demands of the crowd. In a day or two, there was more of what people wanted more and there was less of what people wanted less.
This is an important part of event management – catering for the large and unpredictable crowds.
The experience gained here will be useful in future event-management challenges. This is certainly a benefit of hosting Ashgabat 2017.
The volunteers – there were thousands of them – were the backbone of Ashgabat 2017. They worked efficiently and silently, facilitating the crowds and athletes in so many different ways. The main take-home skills for these volunteers were the ability to solve problems, quickly, on the feet, and the knack to match the needs with the available resources.
These volunteers, as early as next year, will start graduating from their educational establishments and enter the practical life in the public and private sectors. What they have acquired are life skills. They will take these skills with them wherever they go.
Perhaps one of the main benefits, apart from the profound sense of sportsman spirit, is the pride that comes with carrying home a bag full of medals.
The Games have proved to be a great confidence booster for Turkmenistan. Every citizen, young or old, directly participating in sports or just watching on the TV, feels rightly proud of the achievements of their athletes and sportsmen.
It is a pride without arrogance, it is a joy without malice; it is humbling and rewarding.
Ashgabat 2017 has given a new sense of nationhood to Turkmenistan. What was an internal knowledge about the talent has now been proved on the world stage.
We would suggest that Turkmenistan should try to host international sporting events on regular basis.
CONCLUDED. /// nCa