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Ashgabat Olympic Complex, the main door of Turkmenistan to the Olympic Games

Ashgabat Olympic Stadium changing its colors by night. (Photo: Ashgabat 2017)
by Rayane Moussallem, AIPS Media

ASHGABAT, September 24, 2017 - “I have covered many Olympics and international tournaments in my life but I have never seen something like that.” This is the phrase that every journalist, athlete or attendee has been using to describe the Ashgabat Olympic Complex.

It’s been nine days since the opening of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) held in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat, and so far, it seems that this complex is still astonishing those who came for the event.

The overall concept of the project was prepared by Turkish company Polimeks, which has been in Turkmenistan for over 25 years, and has been designed by 2000 engineers, architects and technicians from international project and engineering companies experienced in the design of world-famous sports facilities

AIPS spoke to the company representatives, Turgay Erunlu, Director of the Olympic Complex and Fatih Oruc, AIMAG 2017 deputy chairman representative and Olympic events director.

“Before we started the construction, we visited a lot of Olympic complexes around the world and we realized that the main issue was the distance between venues and after that the government came up with the decision to make it in a compact space.” Erunlu said.

The complex is constructed across an area of 1,466,400 m˛ and includes 16 sports venues, the athletes’ village, hotels, accommodation, restaurants, and many other facilities.

Overall view of the Ashgabat Olympic Complex. (Photo: Ashgabat 2017)

“We had to dig 20 to 25 meters to remove the garbage and bad soil in the area before we started the construction. The government strategy was to have three constructions phases, first one lasted from October 2010 till April 2014, second phase from May 2012 till December 2015 and last phase started in October 2013 and ended in March 2017.” Erunlu told AIPS.

ATOS the recognized IT services corporation has been the official partner of the International Olympic Committee since Barcelona 1992 Olympics and has partnered with Ashgabat 2017 to provide its high-tech services.

“Nowhere in the world, you find a company delivering fully equipped buildings and from inside like media, technology, sports electronic equipment, time scoring and others, the premises are delivered empty. But here we delivered all the venues fully equipped, with technology and sports electronic equipment according to international federations regulations for which we have certificates.” Oruc explained.

160 million man-hours, 15 000 workers, two million m3 of concrete worth nine times Burj Khalifa, the excavation of 12 million m˛ of garbage and bad soil which can fill five The Great Pyramid of Giza to build the complex, 470 000 m˛ of white marble for all the building’s facades able to fill 62 football pitches and 36 000 tones of still structures that can build five Eiffel Tours were used to make this complex a unique one.

Ashgabat who was noted by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013 as having the whitest marble-clad buildings in the world, is now known as at the City of White Marble and the Olympic Complex didn’t differ as all the premises, venues and buildings were designed to be all white, the color of peace.

Just like any sports event, the organizers have promised that these Games would leave a great legacy for the country and its people but this wasn’t the case after Rio 2016 Olympics.

But just six months after the event, the Maracana has been vandalized, the pools are filled with stagnant water and the Olympic park looks like a ghost town. So what’s the plan of AIMAG to avoid the same aftermath.

“Before and during the Games, Polimeks has been operating all the venues and will continue to do so until December 2017. But we have been training a local Turkmen staff before the event started and will continue till the end of the year on what should be done to maintain these venues.” Oruc explained.

“The esteemed president is focusing on every detail in the management team and asking the government to look after the venues, the areas and functions. He is personally taking care of the complex, so the concern is coming from top level which is the most important thing.” Erunlu added.

A 5.2 Km monorail satiations is laid around the complex across 8 satiations in order to facilitate the transportation needs.

Monorail system at the Ashgabat Olympic Complex. (Photo: Ashgabat 2017)

Guinness World Records have awarded Ashgabat 2017 two certificates: the horse decorating the podium of the Olympic stadium is recognized as the largest horse head sculpture on the planet while the Olympic Swimming Center is the world's largest indoor swimming pool with 5000 seating capacity, using the latest technologies and environmentally friendly materials.

Ashgabat is already looking to the future, to the next sports event that will be held in its complex, to the new athletes and journalists who will benefit from its fascinating facilities, to the ultimate goal: the Olympic Games.

Ashgabat Olympic Complex sports venues:

- Ashgabat Olympic Stadium with 45 000 seating capacity

- Main Indoor Arena

- Multifunctional Sports Center

- Taekwondo DanceSport Arena

- Billiard Sports Arena

- Martial Arts Arena

- Muaythai Kickboxing Arena

- Weightlifting Arena

- Aquatics Center

- Indoor Tennis Center

- Velodrome

- 3x3 Basketball Arena

- Indoor Athletics Arena

- Bowling Center

- Chess Center

Non-competitions venues:

- Business Center

- Hotels

- Media Center

- Restaurants

- Training Halls

- Doping Center

- Dining hall

- Cultural Center

- Operational zone

- Medical center

- International broadcast center

- Logistic building

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