The 4th World Nomad Games will kick off in western Türkiye’s Iznik on Thursday after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus.
More than 3,000 traditional athletes from over 102 countries will participate in the event to be inaugurated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The World Ethnosport Confederation, which works to raise awareness, revive and popularize traditional sports around the globe, will organize the four-day competition on a 700,000 square meter area on the picturesque shores of Lake Iznik.
The first-ever World Nomad Games was held in 2014 in Kyrgyzstan with an aim to preserve the nomadic cultural lifestyle and ancestral sports for posterity. Since then it has earned the reputation of being the first and only event in the world that celebrates traditional sports.
The 4th World Nomad Games, to be held under the slogan "We are One: From Tradition to Future!” will host over 40 competitions in three different categories – horse riding, wrestling and archery. Each category will feature several competitions, unique to the Turkic geography.
For instance, horse riding will have two competitions, kökbörü and kökpar. In kökbörü, horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal.
The wrestling events, on the other hand, will include traditional Turkish oil wrestling, Kazakh wrestling, pehlivan wrestling and several others.
Besides sports, the World Nomad Games also celebrate traditional lifestyle, art and gastronomy.
It will also hold different activities on traditional and performing arts while hosting children's events, playgrounds and even an ethno-market.
The games aim to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of different peoples from all over the world and strengthen intercultural communication, friendship and harmony.
The event will also contribute to the strengthening of Turkey's cultural diplomacy, as well as better recognition of Iznik around the world.
Iznik, a city with a long historic and cultural heritage, is fully prepared to host the world’s largest traditional games event.
It will welcome everyone, from heads of states to average citizens, to the four-day event, which will also be watched on TV by millions of people from around the globe.
For visitors who want to enjoy the games up close, there will be a caravan park and camping areas for tents, giving people a taste of the nomadic lifestyle.
The main event area will feature a 5,000-capacity arena, while there will separate stands for wrestling and archery competitions as well.
Apart from the sports arena, there will also be experience zones offering traditional food and drinks. It will also host an Ethno market or shopping area featuring traditional handicrafts, places of worship, chat by bonfires, archery training and horseriding areas, as well as fully equipped stables for hundreds of horses used in equestrian sports.
Speaking about the 4th World Nomad Games, Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu said in a statement that this year’s competition will be a milestone.
"We will organize the largest traditional sports organization in the world. We see this meeting as a spirit of solidarity and a bridge that unites communities and nations that have a very strong stake in history, culture and values. We see this strengthening of solidarity as a milestone," he said.