The third edition of the World Nomad Games started in Kyrgyzstan yesterday. The weeklong event, sponsored by Turkish Airlines and the Turkish-based World Ethnosports Confederation, focuses on ancient ethnic or ethnosports - from archery to traditional wrestling.
Turkey is scheduled to host the next edition of the games in 2020 and a Turkish delegation is attending this year's events. Participants from Turkey will showcase their skills in aşırtmalı aba güreşi (belt wrestling), an ancient form of Turkish wrestling that involves throwing one's opponent over his shoulders by capturing the rival's belt or clothes along with traditional archery and mangala, a historic board game of the Turks.
About 2,000 athletes from 80 countries are to participate in the games in Kyrgyzstan's Issyk-Kul region. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban were scheduled to attend the event.
The first Nomad Games were held in Kyrgyzstan in 2014 and the event expanded further in 2016. Apart from being a traditional sports competition, it aims to promote nomadic and Central Asian culture. Handicraft fairs, art exhibitions, theatrical retelling of legends and myths associated with Central Asia, folk dance performances and exhibitions on Turkic cuisines are among some things visitors can do at the games outside of watching sports.
Most sports included in the program involve traditional wrestling or archery and its vastly different forms practiced in Turkic and other countries. Other sports such as At Chabysh involves horse racing, Kök-börü, an ethnic sport involving horseback riders catching and throwing the carcass of a sheep and goat, stand out among the interesting ancient sports events in the Nomad Games. Apart from mostly Turkic sports, the event also hosts performers of sambo, a Russian martial arts, ssireum, a type of wrestling from South Korea and sumo, national Japanese wrestling. Burkut saluu, dalba and taigan zharysh, three hunting games from Kyrgyzstan that involves hunting falcons and dogs, will also be showcased at the event.