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World Nomad Games to preserve traditional sports

media Official logo of World Nomad Games

Athletes of 40 countries are in full preparation for the second edition of the World Nomad Games to be held in Kyrgyzstan from September 3-8 on the shore of lake Issyk-Kul.


The games are meant to “to show the world the greatness of nomadic civilization,” according to the organizers' official website, and “to show nomadic sports in their original form.”

A total of 23 different sports are on the agenda which also features concerts, a scientific conference and demonstration performances to raise awareness about ethnic sports around the world.

Sports include wrestling, horse racing, hunting and “Kok-Boru” or “Buzkashi” (“Goat Grabbing”) where contesters wrestle to get control of the carcass of a freshly-slaughtered goat.

Kyrgyzstan has faced two revolutions and swung between democracy and authoritarianism in just 25 years of independence from the Soviet Union and the Nomad Games have become a point of national pride.

In this edition of the games, the number of nations sending competitors for the two-week event has nearly doubled since the first games two years ago.

The state has already released special edition coins and stamps to commemorate the games, whose logo is being worn on custom-made broaches by state television presenters.

Organisers cite a mission to "revive and preserve the culture, identity and ways of life of nomadic peoples in the era of globalisation" but many have aired concerns about cost overruns.

Recently the cash-strapped government admitted that the cost of rebuilding the stadium where many events will take place had ballooned from over 6 million euros at the start of the year to over almost 15 million Euro.

Nurdin Sultambayev, who heads the World Nomad Games 2016 secretariat says the event is part of a "long journey" and that the government will claw back its investment in future tourism revenues.

The games are heavily sponsored by companies from the former Soviet Union, including the Russian energy giant Gazprom but also by Turkish Airlines and western companies such as Airbus Helicopters.

Turkey is to host the 2018 version of the games.

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