Saudi Arabia and Qatar embraced on the podium ©OCA

Saudi Arabian and Qatari jumpers embraced on the medals podium in a poignant example of sport trumping politics here today at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

It followed a superb performance from final Saudi rider Abdullah Waleed Al-Sharbatly, who kept his cool in the heat of battle at the Equestrian Centre when a single fence down would have cost his team victory.

Team-mates Khaled Abdulrahman Al-Mobty and Khaled Abdulaziz Al-Eid each also produced double clear rounds before four missed fences by Saad Abdullah Alajmi - in a format where the top three scores counted - ensured a nervy finish.

"There was a lot of pressure and, at the end, I had to take off two strides to the last fence and do five strides to make sure I was inside the time," said Al-Sharbatly. 

"I did not want to get a time penalty. 

"But it was a nice win for us - that is why I punched the air."

Qatar's Hamad Ali Al-Attiayah, Faleh Suwayed Alajami, Salmen Sultan Al-Suwaidi and Nasser Gassim Ghazali Jahromi had to settle for silver one penalty behind.

It came after the two Gulf countries were on the brink of war earlier this year as part of an escalating regional rivalry.

A show of emotion such as what was seen on the podium here would certainly not have been permitted in other theatres between citizens of the two countries.

Saudi Arabia hung on to claim a thrilling gold medal in the team jumping competition ©OCA
Saudi Arabia hung on to claim a thrilling gold medal in the team jumping competition ©OCA

Syria also took a poignant bronze - a further three penalties behind - courtesy of Ahmad Saber Hamcho, Amre Hamcho, Mohammad Joubarani and Mustafa Zndaki.

Marshall Islands also took a superb silver medal today in weightlifting as Mathlynn Sasser finished second in the under-63 kilograms event.

China’s Yuan Wangjian cruised to the gold medals after six successful lifts to finish with an unrivalled total of 223kg at the Weightlifting Arena.

Sasser finished next best thanks to a hoist of 120kg in the clean and jerk that earned her an Oceania record.

She lifted a total of 210kg, while South Korea’s An Sisung took the bronze medal with 208kg.

Turkmenistan’s Rejepbaý Rejepow came out on top in the under-77kg category with a total of 353kg in front of the watching Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

Rejepow won the snatch with 162kg and the clean and jerk with 191kg.

Uzbekistan’s Shakhzod Khudayberganov was the runner-up in the snatch with 155kg and the clean and jerk with 187kg for a silver medal-winning total of 342kg.

Rounding out the podium was Iraq's Ahmed Al-Hussein, who took the bronze medal with a total of 323kg after finishing third in the snatch with 146kg and the clean and jerk with 177kg.

International Weightlifting Federation President Tamás Aján joined Sheikh Ahmad to present the medals.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and Tamas Ajan presented the men's weightlifting medals ©ITG
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and Tamas Ajan presented the men's weightlifting medals ©ITG

The first bowling medal event of Ashgabat 2017 also took place today with Thailand’s Annop Arromsaranon beating The Philippines’ Kenneth Chua 247-212 in the men’s singles final.

In taekwondo, the rivalry between China and Chinese Taipei was on full show as each nation won one gold medal at the expense of the other.

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Yu-Chuang made the first strike by beating China’s Zhou Lijun 20-10 in the women’s under-57 kilograms final at the Taekwondo DanceSport Arena.

The tables were then turned in the women's under-67kg final, where China’s Gao Pan proved too strong for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Yann-Yeu with a 7-2 win.

Between these bouts, South Korea’s Seo Kangeun was gifted a 21-6 victory in the men's under-68kg final after Malaysian opponent Rozaimi Bin Rozali notched 10 penalty points to bring an automatic end to the match.

Rozali recently won a gold medal at his home Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, but was punished for his indiscipline against Seo on this occasion.

Turkmenistan continue to dominate the medals table after their weightlifting success today.

The host nation now lie on 144 medals of which 59 were gold, 42 were silver and 43 were bronze.

Thailand and Iran are following a long way behind after each accruing 13 gold medals so far.

Thailand have also claimed 12 silver and 14 bronze while Iran have managed nine silver but 27 bronze.

Uzbekistan are the only nation to have won 10 gold medals - along with 17 silver and 36 bronze.

Usual Asian powers China, Kazakhstan and South Korea lie fifth, sixth and 10th respectably in the standings while Japan lie a distant 31st - below Marshall Islands - after a solitary bronze medal.