The World Nomad Games had been held only twice by now. Once in 2014 and the second time in 2016. The next are expected in 2018. You think the Olympic games are exciting? Well, check these. Competition might be the least important issue at these games, after tradition and fun. And yet, it is not quite easy to compete or win. You need to really have the guts and…the genes because they were created to celebrate the nomadic heritage of the Central Asian nations, and just as an article in The Guardian stated: “If Genghis Khan were alive, he’d be here.”
For the first two times, the World Nomad Games were held in Cholpon-Ata, in Kyrgyzstan, while for the 2018 games the destination remains unknown. The participants in the games come from the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the republics in Russia such as Altay, Buryatia, Bashkortostan, Kalmykia, Sakha, and others. There are also participants from Afganistan, Mongolia, and Turkey, as well as representatives of distant cultures who take place in the games for the sake of fun.
Of all forty countries that participate in the World Nomadic Games, most have long nomadic traditions, so besides fun and competition, there is the moment of cultural or spiritual reunification in a way. The sports include Alysh which is a kind of belt wrestling; Toguz korgool, a two-player, board game from the mancala family; Er Enish, a kind of horseback wrestling; Salburun, a traditional hunting in Central Asia that involves archery, falconry, and hunt with a Taigan; Kurash, which is a kind of wrestling in a “folk style”; Horse riding, eagle hunting, and so on.
The most exciting game at the event is Buzkashi, a kind of violent, Central Asian polo in which horse-mounted players are aiming to the goal…with a goat or calf carcass. Buzkashi means literally “goat grabbing” in Persian. And it is much trickier and harder than it might sound. In the past the game could last up to several days, however for its tournament version, the game has a limited time. Buzkashi probably originates from the Turkish-Mongol people who spread to the west and probably brought it to Afganistan where it became the national sport of the country which got banned under the Taliban regime.
Besides, there are stages with drama and music. Bazaars with incredible, hand-made, traditional crafts work. Whichever direction you turn your head to, there is something unusual, unexpected, and exciting going on. And the opening ceremonies seem like out of this world. Like a trans.
The World Nomadic Games were held only twice, and everyone who got to be present has an experience that is beyond proudness and satisfaction. Let’s hope that they will keep the tradition of hosting the games just as they did twice before. For all of us who didn’t get the chance to experience them.
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