Central Asia becomes a centre of sports attraction

Central Asia becomes a centre of sports attraction

Against the outbreak of COVID-19 in mainland China many sports superiority events go from the coast of the Pacific Ocean to the depth of the continent. So, instead of the Chinese city of Xi’an, the Pre-Olympic tournament in wrestling will be hosted by Bishkek. Competitions will be held in the capital of Kyrgyzstan on March 27-29.

The Asian championship in weightlifting will also change its venue. Instead of Kazakhstan which has limited entrance from China and adjacent countries, competitions will be held from April 16 to April 25 in the capital of Uzbekistan – Tashkent. The tournament will become a final possibility for sportsmen to be qualified for the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo-2020.

Central Asia has been already for a long time the place of sports attraction and for last year the tendency has only intensified. The National Olympic committees actively work to bring tournaments of various levels to the countries. So, Turkmenistan became a venue of the Asian indoor and martial arts games in 2017 and superiority of the world weightlifting in 2018, Kazakhstan – the world wrestling championship – 2019, Uzbekistan hosted the Asian weightlifting championship among juniors and the youth in 2020, Tajikistan – the international tournament in swimming, and Kyrgyzstan – the international competitions in tennis among women.

And now the Asian football confederation has invited national football committees of member countries to submit their applications for hosting the final tournament of Asian Cup of 2027.

Why it is so early, if the following tournament is held only in 2023 in China? Because organizers already want to select today the country-host of Games-2027 to give it more time for preparation.

– Thanks to the expanded format which started in the United Arab Emirates in 2019, we have 24 teams and 51 matches; therefore it is necessary for us from eight to ten stadiums of world level. <…> The tournament scale provides also civil work which, of course, demand planning and time, – Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) noted at the meeting of the Executive Committee in Hong Kong.

For any of the Central Asian countries hosting of the championship of the continent becomes a breakthrough possibility to show sports infrastructure and to draw the greatest possible attention of both fans and profile investors for realisation of other projects.

Much earlier – in 2021 – regional multi-sports competitions can also return to Central Asia. Representatives of National Olympic Committees of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Iran discussed two days ago this possibility in Dushanbe.

As participants of the meeting pointed out, the post-Olympic year begins with an excellent occasion to renew competitions and will give a chance to estimate the condition of teams after exhausting race for medals of main competitions of four years.

Besides the Olympic Games, in the program of Central Asian Games it is planned to include non- Olympic sports that are traditional for the region.

A final decision will be adopted at the General Assembly of the countries of Central Asia. Earlier Games were held every 2 years, but they were never organised in Ashgabat.

Today Central Asia is the region with powerful potential in many areas: from oil and gas to IT technologies. And who knows, in some years for Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to put “sports visas” on passports may become a norm, and against the background of sights of the Great Silk road fans with the vuvuzela in T-shirts of national teams will be photographed?

Altyn ASHYROVA