U.S. Delegation Builds Bridges of Inclusion through Adaptive Sports

October 17, 2019, Ashgabat – A delegation of adaptive sports athletes, coaches, and administrators from the United States concluded its 10-day visit to Turkmenistan with a conference in Ashgabat on October 15. During the program, delegation members shared their experience promoting sports inclusive of individuals with disabilities and engaged with their counterparts from Turkmenistan through workshops, master-classes, and friendly competitions in Ashgabat, Mary, Turkmenabat, Dashoguz, Balkanabat, and Turkmenbashy.

The visit by U.S. athletes followed the visit of adaptive sports athletes and coaches from Turkmenistan to the United States in November 2018 and was supported by Virginia Commonwealth University, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Policy of Turkmenistan, the central and regional sports clubs for people with disabilities of Turkmenistan, the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat, and the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy Office.

The visit culminated in the “Developing Individual Potential through Adaptive Sports” conference held at the Ashgabat Olympic Complex October 15. Deputy Minister for Sports and Youth Policy Parahat Agayev and U.S. Ambassador Matthew Klimow opened the conference with inspiring words about the importance of inclusion and partnership. Representatives of regional sports clubs for people with disabilities, disability organizations, students and faculty members of the Turkmen State Institute of Physical Education and Sports, and members of the media and diplomatic corps observed demonstration games of adaptive chess and checkers, table tennis, goalball, and sitting volleyball and viewed a friendly match of wheelchair basketball.

“Truly, this has been an unprecedented collaboration between the Governments of the United States and Turkmenistan, and we are extremely proud of what this program has accomplished and will continue to accomplish,” Ambassador Klimow remarked at the conference. “This is meant to be not the conclusion of a single program, but the beginning of a long-term dialogue. How can we improve the lives of everyone through sports that are inclusive and welcoming to all? How can sports shape our young generations and build a future of perseverance, self-confidence, and partnership? How can we continue to build bridges of global understanding through sports diplomacy?”

For more information about this program or to arrange media interviews with the delegation, please contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat at 47-35-06 (1) or e-mail USEmbassy-Ashgabat-PAS@state.gov.