Turkmenistan president threatens to sack sports minister after Olympians fail to win medals

The country sent nine athletes to the games, all of whom could not manage a podium finish

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov

Image:Shakh Aivazov / AP/Press Association Images

Turkmenistan president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has publicly criticised his country's sports minister after each of their nine Olympians returned home from Rio without medals.

The authoritarian leader told the sports committee chief, Kaakbay Seiidov, on state television to "make good on these shortcomings in the near future or face the sack".

He continued: "It’s disappointing that even with all the facilities provided, you could not justify the trust of the motherland."

Turkmenistan, home to about five million people, has never won a medal at the Olympics. They were represented by nine athletes across five disciplines including boxing, weightlifting and judo.

Berdymukhamedov is renowned as fitness lover and is often seen on TV taking part in various physical activities.

The Guardian report that in April, state employees were forced into performing fitness exercises before work as part of their annual month-long drive to boost healthy lifestyles.