Turkmen kickboxers begin their campaign on a sensational note

Ashgabat, April 26, 2017: Turkmen kickboxers made a sensational start to their campaign day one of the Asian Kickboxing Confederation (WAKO Asia) Championships 2016/17 at the jam-packed Martial Arts Arena in the Ashgabat Olympic Complex on Wednesday.

Commencing on the third day of the Inspiring Ashgabat Test Event series, the kickboxing competition saw eighteen out of 20 Turkmen athletes win their quarter-final bouts in different weight categories, be it in the ring or tatami.

Nine Iranian athletes won their bouts and qualified for the semi-final stages, thus becoming the second most successful country on the opening day of the Asian Kickboxing Championships. Tajikistan (seven), Iraq (six), Kyrgyzstan (five), Chinese Taipei (three), India (two), Macau and Malaysia (one each) followed. The semi-final rounds will be contested on April 29 and 30.

Turkmen kickboxers, Turkmenistan’s Azat Dovletov scored the tournament’s first point against South Korea’s Park Doheyon in the men’s 63kg Point Fighting quarter-finals, causing the stadium to erupt in cheers. His hard-earned 6-5 win set the tone for the host nation for the rest of the day.

Azat Dovletov said he was thrilled to get off to a winning start in front of the home crowd.

“The atmosphere inside the stadium was electrifying. From the moment I entered the ring, the noise was non-stop and that really inspired me. This is one of my most memorable wins. I’ll try my best to win a medal at home.”

The 69kg men’s Point Fight quarter-final, between India’s Makarand Vilas Joshi and Turkmenistan’s Gurbansahet Aymedov, was one of the most exciting of the day. In a tightly contested encounter, Aymedov lost the first round 1-3 and came back to tie the second 1-1, before clinching the third round 3-2.

However, it just wasn’t enough to prevent his overall 5-6 loss, and Makarand Vilas Joshi proceeding to the next round.

Makarand revealed that his tactic was to maintain pressure on his opponent: “From the start, I knew he had home advantage. So my only option was to attack from the start. He tied me in the second round and beat me in the third, but I survived in the end. It gives me more confidence for the challenges ahead.”

The action continues on the second and final day of competition at the Martial Arts Arena on Thursday.

The Asian Kickboxing Championships is a part of the Inspiring Ashgabat Test Event Series, which also includes the Senior Asian Weightlifting Championships and the Central Asian Short Course Swimming Tournament, and is taking place between 23 and 30 April.

Entry to the Inspiring Ashgabat Test Event Series is free of charge; however, tickets are required for entry. Fans who want to be a part of history while helping organisers assess the readiness of venues; can collect their tickets from the Ashgabat 2017 Ticket Box Offices at Berkarar, 15 Years of Independence Shopping Centre and Ashgabat Park. —- LAUREL NEWS SERVICES

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