Traditional Nomads Games Held in Kazakhstan

NUR-SULTAN – Spectacular dzhigits (horse riders and fighters) competitions were held in the forgotten traditional sporting events held in the Turkistan region, gathering people from all regions of the country, reports

Kokpar is an ancient nomadic game, in which teams on horseback try to advance a headless goat carcass towards the opposing team’s goal. Photo credit: Click to see the map in full size.

They competed in horse racing, archery, Kazaksha kures (wrestling), togyzkumalak (ancient boardgame with balls) and asyk atu, which involves beating the opponent with one’s own asyk (a bone of a knee sheep joint) or several asyks at a certain distance.

Among the competitions, there was also audaryspak (wrestling horseback). It is one of the most intense national games, where the winner has to overcome his opponent and pull him off his horse.

In another game, participants had to squat with a ram on their neck, whose weight reached 50 kilograms. The ones, who managed to sit down and stand up with a ram around their neck more than hundred times, were praised with audience applause.

Participants confessed that they wanted to preserve such an important part of their culture and history.

“This is our national sport, let’s say our Kazakh brand. I am proud I do Kazaksha kures, not another kind of sport, because it is our history, our ancestors did it,” said Islambek Iliyaskazhy from Zhetysai, who immediately distinguished himself from the other competitors.

During the competition, guests could also taste Kazakh traditional cuisine. The menu was designed by the local Grandmothers’ Council. Those who came for the treats were given a detailed story about the history and technology used in its preparation.


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