ASTANA — Some 4,000 participants from 100 countries will participate in the fifth World Nomad Games to be held in the Kazakh capital from Sept. 8 – 14 next year, said Kazakh Minister of Tourism and Sports Ermek Marzhikpayev at an Oct. 26 briefing at the Central Communications Service.
According to Marzhikpayev, 73 countries have already expressed their intention to participate in the competition.
“The uniqueness of the World Nomad Games lies in the trinity of sports, cultural and scientific programs. This interconnected approach enables a comprehensive study and global promotion of traditional ethnic sports and nomadic culture worldwide. The games’ program encompasses 20 competitive events, with 110 sets of medals at stake,” said Marzhikpayev.
Among the featured competitions, attendees can look forward to horse racing, national wrestling, traditional intellectual games, martial arts competitions, traditional archery, national bird hunting, horse racing, folk games, and awe-inspiring demonstration performances in ethnic sports.
The sporting and cultural festivities will be held across five prominent locations in the capital: the renowned Astana Arena stadium, a revitalized Kazanat Hippodrome with a capacity of 10,000 spectators, the Ushkempirov Martial Arts Palace, Alau Ice Palace, and the Duman complex.
To celebrate the rich diversity of nomadic culture, the Ethnic Village, named the Universe of Nomads, will be opened. The cultural program is set to showcase projects representing various ethnicities across the country, each presenting their yurts, offering a glimpse into their regions’ unique cultural and tourist aspects.
The ethno village will be strategically positioned near the capital’s Kazanat hippodrome, hosting the Museum of Nomadic Civilization, the City of Craftsmen, a Neo nomads Fest, a National Cuisine Festival, along with a plethora of sports competitions and aitys (contest on improvised oral poetry).
Minister Marzhikpayev emphasized during the briefing that the event will attract over 100,000 Kazakh and foreign tourists. To enhance the convenience of foreign tourists and participants, the organizers have partnered with 23 of the finest hotels in the capital, strategically located near the sports facilities.
The ancient Kazakh game of Togyzkumalak (nine pellets), often called the “chess of the steppes,” is included in the next games. This traditional board game not only carries deep cultural significance but also serves as an educational tool, fostering mathematical and strategic thinking skills. In Togyzkumalak, players skillfully collect pellets in the game’s holes, strategically aiming to amass as many as possible in their kazan (cauldron).
Kazakhstan also has announced its inaugural Alaman international media contest designed for journalists covering national sports to celebrate the upcoming games next year. This competition will span six months, commencing on Sept. 1 and concluding on March 1, 2024. Journalists who excel in various categories will be rewarded with substantial monetary prizes.
The World Nomad Games will also feature a scientific conference. The conference will focus on sports horse breeding, training methods for ethno-athletes, and the standardization and international adoption of rules in ethno-sports. It promises to be a comprehensive celebration of nomadic heritage, sports, and culture, uniting participants and spectators from all corners of the globe in the heart of Astana.