Participants of 500-day Horse Relay Deliver the Torch of 5th Asian Games to Ashgabat

The 500-day horse relay that started on 5 May 2016 at the walls of Nisa State Historical and Cultural Reserve has finished. Back then not only thousands of our compatriots that gathered at the ancient monument, but also representatives of the Olympic Council of Asia and mass media witnessed the festivities to celebrate the beginning of this grand relay.

And early in the morning today, 500 days later, the horsemen arrived at the festively decorated Ahalteke Equestrian Complex at the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains. Elders from all five provinces of the country, numerous guests, representatives of public organizations, mass media, and culture and art professionals gathered at the site and awaited the beginning of the event.

This moment was especially exciting for the 17 horsemen from Ashgabat who were ready to take up the torch of the 5th Asian Games.

On 7 September, 10 days prior to the opening of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, celebrations took place in the Mary province and the capital of the country. They were linked via teleconference with participation of the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

One of the horsemen, who participated in the horse relay, fired an arrow into the sky. Reaching the Sun and as if lighting up from its rays, the arrow dropped into the hearth through the opening in the roof of the biggest yurt, and fired it.

The fire in the hearth lit the torch of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and the 17 horsemen continued their journey with a burning torch.

And today, the jigits from Mary province who traveled such a long way were warmly welcomed with bread and salt in Ashgabat. The festive character of the ceremony was highlighted by performance of the artists of the Magtymguly Turkmen National Musical and Drama Theater who presented a piece from Magtymguly opera.

Then, to thunderous applause and fanfares, the horseman from Mary province solemnly passed the torch to the jigit from Ashgabat. The Ashgabat horsemen also received the State flag of Turkmenistan and the flag of the Olympic Council of Asia.

To the sounds of a solemn melody, the17 horsemen, who received the torch and the symbols of this Asiada, embark on a decorated road to the capital. At the Yanardag Monument, they were greeted by the combined drummer band. Then the horsemen were escorted along the route by a white motorcade. At the same time, in honor of the participants of the 5th Asian Games, 65 white pigeons (for the number of participating teams) soared in the sky as envoys of peace, friendship and brotherhood.

The horsemen solemnly proceeded along the Turkmenbashi Avenue and arrived at the site before the Olympic Stadium. Here the 17 horsemen, who participated in the final stage of the 500-day grand relay, were welcomed by the country’s culture and art figures.