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Turkmenistan's cyclists are on track for glory

88   //    17 Aug 2017, 15:06 IST

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Turkmenistan has revealed the 17 athletes who will represent the host nation in Track Cycling at the Ashgabat 2017 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games from 17–27 September.

The squad chosen to compete in the impressive Velodrome at the Ashgabat Olympic Complex is an exciting blend of young talent mixed in with experienced cyclists who are all capable of competing with the best from Asia and Oceania.

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At 33, Muhammetresul Hashojayew is the team’s oldest member and leader of the pack. He started his career as a Sambo wrestler but is now an established member of the Cycling team looking to put up a strong show in Ashgabat.

“I started out in Sambo, but was forced to give it up following a bad knee injury. The doctors advised me that cycling was the only sport I could seriously consider pursuing. Hence I changed track. I’ve never regretted my decision and it’s been a smooth ride so far,” he said.

Two styles of Track Cycling competitions will be held during Ashgabat 2017 — Sprints and Endurance. While the Sprint category consists of Individual and Team Sprints the Endurance races will consist of Keirin, Team Pursuit and Omnium. Hashojayew will be a strong presence in the Individual Sprint race.

“I’m stronger in Individual Sprints and will compete in that event as I’ve been training for Ashgabat 2017 for three years now,” he said.

Iner Jumayev took up Cycling a week after his twin brother Emir in 2008. But when Ashgabat 2017 comes knocking in September, it will be 24-year-old Iner who will represent his country.

“Emir took up Cycling first and I followed him into it. Although he’s also a part of the national team, he won’t be competing in September. It’s very disappointing. But I’ll do everything in my power to try and win a medal for him,” said Iner, who will participate in the Team Sprint.

Yhlas Ovezmyradov, who was once a combat sport enthusiast, tried Cycling for the first time in 2010 and never looked back.

“I used to be fascinated by combat sports like Boxing and Judo and even tried them out for few years. But after taking up Cycling, I was hooked. I don’t know how to explain it, but for me, the best place to relax is on top of a bicycle. I’ll try hard to not let the pressure of competing at home get to me. I want to win a medal in Ashgabat,” said the Team Pursuit rider.

Meanwhile, Shatlyk Geldiyev said he had his father to thank for re-routing his career into Cycling.

“Growing up, I used to aspire to be like my father Dovlet Geldiyev, who was a Judo player so I took up the sport as well. But when I was in seventh grade, he said I should take up cycling as it was better suited for my physique. I initially refused, but time has proved he was right. If I win a medal at Ashgabat 2017, I’ll dedicate it to him,” he said.

Oraz Gayypov, Saylaw Gylyjov, Akmyrat Hojagulyyev, Vepamyrat Akmyradov, Kerimgeldiyevich Rovshen, Kakabay Atayev, Dovletmyrat Bayramov, Mukam Hojageldiyev, Vyacheslav Kutuzov, Hangeldi Kyyasov, Arazmuhamet Nurmedov, Atajan Orunov and Babageldi Seyitnazarov are the other cyclists representing Turkmenistan at Ashgabat 2017.

The Track Cycling events will be held at the Velodrome from 18–23 September.

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I have worked as a Sports Writer for more than a decade with Indian Express, New Delhi, and Qatar-based sports magazine Doha Stadium Plus. I like to write primarily about track and field and other Olympic sports. I have covered two Asian Games (Doha, 2006, Guangzhou, 2010), the 2010 IAAF Indoor Athletics World Championships (Doha), 2011 AFC Asian Cup (Doha), 2015 IAAF Outdoor World Championships (Beijing) and the 2015 IHF Handball World Championship (Doha).
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