Wed, Jun 06, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Turkmenistan sets record for massive cycling lesson


The tightly controlled nation of Turkmenistan on Monday said it set a world record after holding a massive event aimed at educating people about the benefits of cycling.

Guinness World Records had acknowledged the nation for holding “the largest cycling awareness lesson” on Friday last week, which involved 3,246 people, state media reported.

The lesson focused on road safety and featured a “cycling master class,” Neutral Turkmenistan said.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, 60, on Sunday participated in another mass cycling event that saw parts of the capital, Ashgabat, shut down, the newspaper said, adding that Berdymukhamedov rode 8.5km as part of the event.

The “cycling awareness lesson” and the mass cycle ride were put on to mark the first official World Bicycle Day on Sunday.

Turkmenistan led an initiative to create the new day at the UN General Assembly. It was approved in April with support from 193 member states.

Berdymukhamedov, a former dentist who the state media calls the nation’s “protector,” has made healthy living part of the country’s ideology, leaving government officials with no option but to follow suit.

Other events held in support of president’s health kick have included mandatory public stretching sessions for civil servants.

Turkmenistan has broken plenty of various records in recent times, many of which have fed into state propaganda.

In 2015, a choir of more than 4,000 people broke the world record for “singing in the round” previously held by Google employees. The choir sang Forward Only Forward, My Dear Country Turkmenistan, a hymn whose lyrics were written by Berdymukhamedov.

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