President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expresses his desire to host sporting events like the World Track Championships to raise the profile of the country

UCI president Brian Cookson has backed Turkmenistan in its bid to host the World Track Championships, but says the country may be best off hosting smaller events before aiming for the big one.

Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov told the Olympic Council of Asia that he wants to raise the profile of his country through sport, as shown by the development of a $5bn Olympic complex in the capital Ashgabat.

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The country already boasts one of the largest velodromes in the world, with the Ashgabat Sports Complex track capable of holding 6,000 spectators, and Cookson welcomes the country’s desire to host international track cycling.


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“There’s a superb velodrome there, a huge building that is completely unused at the moment,” Cookson told insidethegames.

“There is a wonderful opportunity to put on events there, I know they are very keen on putting forward a bid for the World Track Championships.

“The President of the Republic was at the OCA Congress and he spoke very favourably about the idea of having a World Track Cycling Championships there and it is something we can do.

“Maybe we would like them to have some experience first, perhaps with a junior World Championships, as Kazakhstan did earlier this year.”

As insidethegames reports, Turkmenistan would be only the second Asian nation to hold the World Track Championships, after the Japanese city of Maebashi hosted the event in 1990.