ASHGABAT -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has ordered state institutions to establish their own ice hockey teams.
The official daily "Neitralny Turkmenistan" quoted Berdymukhammedov as saying it was "necessary to provide efficient material incentives for sportsmen who would win first places at Olympic Games and other international competitions."
The capital of Ashgabat, where summer temperatures often hover around 45 degrees Celsius, has two ice palaces for winter sports.
Earlier this month, youth teams took part in Berdymukhammedov’s first ice hockey tournament, during what the president declared to be a Week of Health and Happiness.
The winner was awarded a $20,000 prize.
With reporting by Reuters