Turkmenistan: TV shows president 'winning cycling race'

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov raises an arm in victory

Turkmenistan's gung-ho president has been featured on state TV winning a cycling race.

It seems Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov took a leaf out of London Mayor Boris Johnson's book by promoting mass-participation rides, along the lines of RideLondon which saw 16,500 people taking on a 100-mile loop from the British capital last weekend. But while Boris came a-cropper with a puncture and copped an earful of abuse from a fellow participant, the state-controlled Altyn Asyr channel showed Berdimuhamedov holding an arm aloft as he crossed the finish line clear of the next rider during a race near the capital Ashgabat. Apparently, the "esteemed president" has ordered officials to provide regular mass races on Sunday.

It's just the latest report to present the authoritarian leader as fit and active, after he was shown jetskiing, fishing and riding a scooter on holiday. It's not the president's first sporting success, either. In May, state-run media provided prominent coverage of him winning the equivalent of £7m in cash prize during a horse race - despite suggestions the "master jockey" had fallen off. In July last year, he was broadcast singing and playing guitar.

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