Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Former Chelsea coach signs with Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor

TASHKENT - On June 9, former coach of Brazil’s and Portugal’s national teams Luiz Felipe Scolari signed an 18-month contract with the Uzbek football club Bunyodkor, following his departure as manager of Chelsea.
"Uzbek football is creating its own success story with Bunyodkor and its remarkable dynamism", Scolari said. "Completion of a new football stadium outside Tashkent next March will open a new era for the club ... I know that I am in the right place at the right time and with the right team", the new coach declared.
Others have similar hopes for the team, currently Uzbekistan's strongest. Executive Director Tavakkal Ismailov said he hopes that Bunyodkor will easily make it through qualifying rounds to take part in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Created four years ago, Bunyodkor has twice played for the Premier League's national championship, garnering the top slot in 2008 and nabbing the national cup. Server Dzheparov, member of both Bunyodkor and the Uzbek national team and the top scorer in the playoffs, was named both Uzbekistan and Asian 2008 Footballer of the Year, the same season that Bunyodkor made the semi-finals of the Asian Champions League under the tutelage of another Brazilian coach, Zico. The club has also landed famous Brazilian midfielder Rivaldo, who has made a late-career move to Uzbekistan.
The club's coffers, healthy by regional standards, have been filled thanks to magnate and football buff Mirodil Dzhalilov, head of the Zeromax petroleum company. Last year, Bunyodkor inked an agreement with Spanish team Barcelona to allow Uzbek footballers training time in Spain with some of that country's top players.
Scolari brings a number of successes to the team, including coaching the 2002 World Cup-winning team from Brazil and the Portuguese side that took silver in the 2004 UEFA championships. In 2008, Scolari moved to Chelsea but was forced out in February 2009, handing the management over to Dutch coach Guus Hiddink.
Besides managing the team, Scolari will also oversee Uzbekistan's Youth Football Academy. Commenting on his new role, Scolari said he was impressed by the Uzbekistan's government social investment into developing the sport and that he is looking forward to his new role as a youth coach. The academy has 400 spots for school-age students who will pursue their high school studies while receiving intensive football training. Uzbekistan will invite seven more foreign coaches to train its football stars of the future.

Turkmen athletes win 10 Asian Sambo Championship medals

TURKMENISTAN – Turkmen athletes won 10 medals at the Asian Sport and Combat Sambo Championship held at the beginning of June in Tashkent, which hosted participants from 25 countries who competed in three age categories.
Victory in the 82 kg weight class went to Alai Niyazmengliev. The 31-year-old athlete defeated Uzbekistan's Soli Kiyamov in his first bout (5-3) and Kazakhstan's Erbol Tomanov in his second (8-4). In the final, Niyazmengliev scored a clean victory over Iran's Raz Iskandari earning him a well-deserved gold medal. It wasn't his first international level success. In 2005, Alai won a Class A international tournament in Moscow and a bronze medal at the World Championships in Prague.
In the up to 90 kg weight class, National Institute of Sport and Tourism (NIST) student Ruslan Paizullaev won a bronze medal. Ashgabat's Meilis Klychev and Mukhamed Temirov from Turkmenbat had similar success in the sport Sambo competition. Klychev took the bronze in the up to 81 kg weight class among cadets, while Temirov took the bronze in the junior category up to 74 kg.
The women's team also performed well, winning six medals. Gulbadam Babamuradova took the silver in the women’s up to 52 kg weight class, as did Zarina Japbarova in the same weight class among juniors and Madina Babakulieva in the up to 48 kg weight class. Bronze medals went to Altyn Jepbarova (to 56 kg) and NIST student Aziza Cholieva (to 60 kg) among juniors.
The Turkmen team's victory is reflected in the prestige of the national Sambo association. At the congress of the Asian Sambo Federation (AFS), which was held during the competition, Deputy Chair of the Turkmen National Martial Arts Centre Ata Adaev was chosen to serve as deputy chairman of the AFS commission for the development of sport and combat Sambo, and as vice president of the Central Asian Sambo Federation.

Tajikistan’s ‘conquerors of the skies’ also rise to the winners’ pedestal

Tajikistan’s first paragliding competition was held on June 8 at the "Safedorak” ski resort 56 km from Dushanbe. While downhill skiers have set records at the resort in the winter, this summer “conquerors of the skies" competed in tests of their abilities. The competition was held under the aegis of the Committee for Youth Affairs, Sport and Tourism. “Ten entries were submitted; eight Tajik paragliders and one each from Russia and Great Britain”, announced the competition’s lead judge Igor Chesnokov.
For the competition to be held, clear weather and a light wind are essential, and the “Spirit in the Sky” did not disappoint. Competitions were held in two categories, a combination event (slalom and cross country) and landing accuracy.
Tajiks took all the prizes. In the landing accuracy events, Vladimir Babaev finished first, Vasiliy Krasnov second, and Denis Dmitriev third. In the combination event, Krasnov took first place, Evgeniy Chesnokov took second and Babaev third.
Mountain paragliding first developed in Tajikistan almost 20 years ago, and the sport is currently enjoying increasing popularity. A paraglider’s equipment includes a cupola, ribs, harness and a reserve parachute. After taking off from a hillside, a paraglider can reach altitudes up to five km and spend three to five hours in the air. “It is impossible to compare the beauty of the vistas that open up in the course of a paraglider flight with the views from the window of an aeroplane”, said competitor Dmitriev.
Tajikistan’s tourist agencies are currently offering many different forms of extreme expeditions and adventure travel, including paragliding, mountain climbing, mountain sports rafting, downhill skiing and hunting, as well as eco-tourism. Paragliding is just one of them.