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Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) Ceremonies 2017

Structural design of the aerial flying system for the scenery and performers

Opening ceremony with pyrotechnics lighting up from the central suspended ring

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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan


Balich Wonder Studio



The opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017 were held at the newly built 45,000 seater Ashgabat Olympic Stadium. The opening ceremony, entitled “The Spirit of Turkmenistan”, had the third biggest creative content at that time, following the Beijing and London Olympic opening ceremonies. The innovative set design focused around a 45t central ring, measuring 30m diameter. It was suspended 30m above the playing field by means of a long span cable net system for which Cundall provided structural design. The ring was used as a screen for massive projections and as support for aerial performers and scenery.

Spiral strand steel cables, with diameter ranging from 17mm to 45mm were used to span up to 230m over the pitch, creating three independent structural cable systems. Cundall also designed non-intrusive and removable connections to the existing roof based on a 3D 10mm grid point cloud laser scan survey that was done on the whole roof structure.

“The length of cables which we designed were 1,425m in total and weighed 9 tonnes. That represents approximately 15% of the total weight of what they were supporting, including the temporary structures, equipment, scenery objects and aerial performers,” says Danilo Cava, Principal Engineer.

Key fact

The team behind the ceremony consisted of 742 people from 39 nations with 7,631 performers out of which 5,475 were volunteers.


Key fact

Over 75,000 costume items and 5,550 scenery objects were used.


Head and sholders shot of Rasti wearing a dark blue shirt against green foliage

Rasti Bartek

Partner, Structural Engineering

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Creativity combined with structural engineering allowed this aerial flying system to come to life and be the centrepiece at those ceremonies.