Accessibility links

Breaking News

Turkmenistan Starts Indoor Games Countdown With 500-Day Horse Race

Turkmenistan has begun a long countdown to the fifth Asian Indoor and Martian Arts Games to be hosted by Ashgabat with the launching of a 500-day nationwide horse race.

The race began on May 5 and is scheduled to end on the eve of the opening ceremony for the 2017 Asian games on September 17, state media reported.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov watched as 17 horses ridden by professional jockeys set off on one of five consecutive 100-day-long races taking place in each of the country's five regions.

Berdymukhammedov -- an authoritarian who exercises control over every aspect of society in Turkmenistan -- has been promoting sport and healthy lifestyles in the country of some 5 million in a giant state propaganda effort.

Turkmenistan is known for the personality cults surrounding its leaders -- both Berdymukhammedov and his eccentric predecessor, the late Saparmurat Niyazov.

With reporting by AFP
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.