The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) were held in Ashgabat in September 2017.
It was the first time Turkmenistan has hosted an international multi-sport event, and also the first time Oceania countries were invited to participate in the Games. Therefore, with the addition of 17 Oceania countries joining the 45 nations recognised by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Ashgabat 2017 was the largest AIMAG ever organised
Australia selected a team of 18 athletes to compete at Ashgabat 2017 in the sports of Taekwondo, Weightlifting and Wrestling. The team featured a number of up-and-coming athletes who will be eyeing off the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Australia won two bronze medals at Ashgabat, both in the sport of Taekwondo. 27-year-old Keshena Waterford made history as the first AIMAG Australian medallist in the women's -49kg category. A day after Australia won its first medal, we won a second with 32-year-old Ruth Hock in the women’s -67kg division.
The Australian team recorded an additional nine top-10 performances, mostly in the sports of taekwondo and weightlifting. However with the results aside, the 18 athletes thrived off the Olympic-like atmosphere, world class venues, bustling athletes village and the chance to mingle with athletes from outside their individual sports.
The full list of selected athletes can be viewed HERE.
W69kg – Jocelyne Francken: 8th
Turkmenistan topped the medal tabel with 89 gold, 70 silver and 86 bronze medals for a total medal count of 245. The People's Republic of China was second with 97 medals (42G, 32S, 23B) and Islamic Republic of Iran was third with 118 medals (36G, 23S, 59B).
The first installment of the AIMAG was held in Incheon, South Korea, in 2013 after the Asian Indoor Games (AIG) and Asian Martial Arts Games (AMAG) were merged by the OCA. China has topped the medal tally at all 4 AIG and AMAG events since they started in 2005, except at the 2009 AMAG in Bangkok where the host nation, Thailand, topped the table.
Alongside the more traditional Olympic sports of Tennis, Taekwondo, Wrestling, Track Cycling, Equestrian Jumping and Weightlifting, the AIMAG features modified versions of Olympic sports such as indoor Athletics, short course Swimming, Futsal and 3x3 basketball – an event set to debut at Tokyo 2020.
Other sports on the Ashgabat program included Chess, Dance Sports, Billiards Sports, Blowing, Kurash and Ju-Jitsu.
The full competition schedule can be viewed HERE.
Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan and is the largest administrative, political, transport, trade, scientific and cultural centre of the country. The city has a population of over 700,000 and is located in the south of Turkmenistan, 25km north of the border with Iran from which it is separated by the Kopetdag Mountains, while on the other side the city borders the Karakum desert. In 2013, Ashgabat entered the Guinness Book of Records as the city with the largest number of buildings finished with white marble. The number of such buildings in the city is 543, and the total area of the marble finish is 4.5 million square metres.
The 5th AIMAG was held in the Ashgabat Olympic Complex which has been formed around the existing Olympic Stadium. The 30-venue multi-purpose complex near the centre of the city placed all competition venues, athlete and official accommodation and leisure and food areas in the one area, making it easy for athletes, officials and spectators to walk to all venues. An interactive map of the Ashgabat Olympic Complex can be viewed HERE.
The Opening and Closing Ceremonies were held at the newly build Ashgabat Olympic Stadium located in the heart of the Olympic Complex. The 45,000 capacity stadium’s modern design pays homage to the revered symbol of Turkmenistan – the Ahal Teke horse, which features at one end of the stadium and is in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest horse statue on a stadium in existence.
Further details on the competition venues can be viewed HERE.
Australia’s athletes lived in the Athletes Village for the duration of the Games. The Village, which is part of the Olympic Complex, features 14 white marble 12-story buildings with a total capacity of almost 6000.