A football match in the northern Tajik town of Istaravshan had to be abandoned after a massive brawl broke out on the pitch. This post rounds up netizen reactions to the incident. Read on Global Voices Online >>
Category Archives: Sports
Mavzuna Chorieva, Tajikistan’s “Million Dollar Baby” has decided to be “like everyone else” and left the boxing ring to get married and have a child.
The female boxer who brought the country its only medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, has married and hung up her gloves, at least for a year. While many people in the country are happy for Chorieva, some have been disappointed over her decision. Read on Global Voices Online >>
On May 21, Muhiddin Kabiri, the leader of the opposition Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) announced that his party will reward Tajik athletes who bring home medals from the forthcoming Summer Olympic Games in London. Each medalist will receive a one-bedroom apartment in the country’s capital Dushanbe. Such an apartment can cost anything between US$ 30,000 and US$ 80,000. According to Kabiri, the move aims to support the country’s athletes who manage to achieve results at high-performance international competitions despite limited financial assistance from the government. “Our main goal in offering to reward Olympic success is to support the nation’s sportsmen and to call on other individuals, political parties, and organizations to follow suit,” he said. “Tajik athletes should receive all the support they need because they represent our country and build its image. I will be happy if this also helps to strengthen our party’s image.”
IRPT’s decision to reward potential Olympic medalists has obvious political objectives. In Tajikistan, sports remain severely underfunded and even the top performing athletes often struggle to make ends meet. Therefore, by offering incentives to the Olympians, Central Asia’s only Islamic party aims to demonstrate its willingness to do tangible things for the country. Kabiri appears certain to become IRPT’s candidate for the presidential elections next year. Earning additional public support will help him in challenging the incumbent president, Emomali Rahmon, who will seek reelection for another seven-year term in 2013.
The authorities have also promised handsome cash rewards for Olympic medals. In January, President Rahmon announced that the government will pay the country’s Olympians 300,000 somoni (US$ 63,000) for gold; 250,000 somoni (US$ 52,500) for silver, and 200,000 somoni (US$ 42,000) for bronze medals. The mayor of Dushanbe has also offered one-bedroom apartments for each gold medal; 45,000 somoni (US$ 9,400) for silver, and 35,000 somoni (US$ 7,300) for Olympic bronze. In addition, Tajikistan’s largest private bank, Oriyonbonk, which is owned by a relative of Rahmon’s, has promised that each Tajik medalist in London will receive a luxury car.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon’s oldest son, Rustam Emomali, has been appointed to supervise the national football (soccer) team ahead of the qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup. Tajikistan will play in the second round of qualifiers despite losing 6-1 on aggregate to Syria earlier in the year. Following the defeat, Tajikistan wrote to FIFA requesting an investigation into whether Syria’s striker George Mourad, who had played and scored in both games against Tajikistan, was eligible to play for Syria. Mourad had previously played for Sweden’s Under-21 team in 2003 and the national team in 2005. On August 19, FIFA ruled to disqualify Syria from the 2014 World Cup and reinstate Tajikistan into the competition. Tajikistan has replaced Syria in Group C of Asia, which Tajik commentators have already dubbed ‘The Group of Death,’ qualifying along with Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea.
Rustam’s appointment is hardly surprising given the 23-year-old’s passion for football. The Tajik leader’s son owns a football club, which won the national championship in 2010 and appears set to repeat its success this year, and has long played for the club as a striker. As Emomali Rahmon began speeding up Rustam’s political career, allegedly in a bid to prepare him to succeed his father in office, Rustam stopped playing football professionally but was appointed as Vice-President of the country’s Football Federation in late 2010. Anyways, this appointment is much less controversial than Rustam’s previous promotions as head of department in the State Committee for Investments and State Property Management, deputy chief of Youth Movement, member of Dushanbe City Legislature and, most recently, head of the Customs Service’s department to fight illegal activity (a job that comes with the rank of a major).
Rustam has already appointed Istiqlol’s coach, Alimjon Rafiqov, as acting national coach. The Tajik national team’s former manager, Pulod Qodirov, resigned in August after his team was defeated by Syria.