Horseback Wrestling And Hunting With Eagles: The Wild And Wonderful World Nomad Games 2016

Nomad Games 2016, Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Genghis Khan, Sports, Stick Wrestling, Kok-boru, Falconry
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Football and athletics too mainstream for you? How about some Dothraki-style falconry, horse-riders on fire, goat-carcass polo and stick wrestling just the way Genghis Khan used to do it? The world championship for these sports was recently concluded in Cholpon-Ata, in the mountainous Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan.

The World Nomad Games are organised with a view to preserve and promote ethnic sports which are an inseparable element of the Central Asian pastoral tradition. With a history of nomadic living that goes back almost two millennia, the Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and other constituent countries of the erstwhile Soviet Union participate in these games, along with enthusiastic participation from faraway countries like the United States of America, Italy and the Republic of Congo!

The second edition of these games which began in 2014, was a 6-day tourney from September 3 to September 8, which also included a cultural showcase of the traditions of Kyrgyzstan. Here are some pictures:

Nomad Games 2016, Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Genghis Khan, Sports, Stick Wrestling, Kok-boru, Falconry

The fierce game of Kok-boru, where players on horseback compete for a goat carcass.

Nomad Games 2016, Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Genghis Khan, Sports, Stick Wrestling, Kok-boru, Falconry

Falconry, because hunting for your food yourself is so basic!

Nomad Games 2016, Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Genghis Khan, Sports, Stick Wrestling, Kok-boru, Falconry

Artists in traditional finery showcasing stunts on horseback.

Nomad Games 2016, Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Genghis Khan, Sports, Stick Wrestling, Kok-boru, Falconry

Chynara Madinkulova participating in the Traditional Archery event.

Nomad Games 2016, Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Genghis Khan, Sports, Stick Wrestling, Kok-boru, Falconry

More stunning archery.

Nomad Games 2016, Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Genghis Khan, Sports, Stick Wrestling, Kok-boru, Falconry

Fierce competitors enjoying a pleasant meal together. It’s not all rivalry you know!

Nomad Games 2016, Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Genghis Khan, Sports, Stick Wrestling, Kok-boru, Falconry

The horse-riders on fire we spoke about!

Now that’s what we call a spectacle!

All images sourced from tumblr and theguardian.

Title image: foxsports

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