It is just hours since a truly incredible Closing Cereomy so trying to put into words how I feel right now is not easy, but what I can confidently state is that Turkmenistan, and Ashgabat, has delivered.
The world now knows that Turkmenistan is a country capable of hosting sporting events of the highest caliber after 12 world-class days of sport.
I would like to thank the Esteemed President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, whose foresight led to this great country being awarded the Games seven years ago.
And what a journey we have been on together since. The Ashgabat Olympic Stadium is not only a centerpiece for one of the best sporting complexes to be found anywhere; it is a lasting monument to the visionary leadership of the Esteemed President that has directed us through one of the greatest sporting shows that the world has ever seen.
Whilst we have witnessed leading athletes from two continents coming together in a glorious show of humanity, as Chairman of the Executive Committee I have been particularly humbled by the way that leading international professionals have united with our talented Turkmen workforce to put on this event.
I would like to thank the thousands of workers who have toiled so hard night and day, some for many years, to ensure we held an event that Turkmenistan can be proud of.
There is a lot of discussion about legacy and what the Games’ lasting impression will be for my country.
Well, apart from these new infrastructure developmens that have turned Ashgabat into one of the world’s leading sporting cities, the human legacy will be just as beneficial.
We recruited 8,000 volunteer First Stars, all of them university students, who collectively went through 196,843 hours of training through 496 sessions. Each First Star received 24.6 hours of training delivered by international professionals. More than 65,000 shifts were completed.
The skills they have learned, and the international experience that they have garnered will stand them in good stead as they begin their professional careers. They worked selflessly for their country which will benefit from their training and experience for many years to come. They welcomed the world with their smiles and made everyone at home through long hours of hard work. They really made the event what it was, an overwhelming success.
The early feedback I have received from the heads of delegations, International Federations, athletes and officials has been overwhelmingly positive.
Over the coming days we will have the opportunity to reflect on our performance through a strict evaluation to determine our next steps.
One thing is for sure though, these world-class facilities will not stand idle. They will be buzzing 365 days a year with not only the elite talent that has shown its worth at these Games, but with the wider Turkmen population which has shown its huge passion for sport by filling the venues day and night.
Ashgabat 2017 has inspired a nation whose dreams have come true over the past two weeks. We can expect the impact to be felt for generations to come.