State controlled media in Turkmenistan likes to portray President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov as a demi-god. But Berdymukhamedov proved all too human in taking a scary tumble at the racetrack.
In an account relied upon by international news agencies, Turkmen State television showed footage of a race, staged April 28, in which a horse ridden by Berdymukhamedov won an $11-million purse. What viewers didn’t see, however, was Berdymukhamedov’s bad spill just after crossing the finish line.
Footage of the race obtained by EurasiaNet.org showed Berdymukhamedov’s horse leading throughout and winning by about a length-and-a-half. But immediately after completing the one-kilometer course, Berdymukhamedov appears to shift in his saddle and the horse stumbles. The Turkmen leader then goes hurtling over the mount’s shoulders, landing face first on the track. The momentum of the fall appeared to roll him over onto his back before he lay still. Other horses narrowly missed trampling him.
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