Kyrgyzstan hosted World Nomad Games
40 nations took part in week-long competition
Steven Seagal, goat-carcass polo and men on fire riding horses through the Kyrgyz countryside – it sounds like an ambitious pitch for a Hollywood blockbuster.
Welcome to the 2016 World Nomad Games, which features eagle hunting, bone throwing … and men trying to hurl a decapitated goat into a goal.
Some 2,000 athletes from 40 nations competed at this month’s second edition, held near the shores of Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Issyk-Kul in Cholpon-Ata City.
Action hero Seagal was a guest at the opening ceremony as the Games lifted off in style. A friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin, the American actor has reportedly been visiting leaders of post-Soviet republics such as Chechnya and Belrus.
The event aims to show the world “the greatness of nomadic civilization” and “values of peace, culture and life of each ethnic group of nomadic world.”
Among the 16 “ethnosports” on show – six more than the inaugural Games of 2014 – was Kok-Buru, where two teams of horsemen try to push a headless goat into the goal.
Its name translates to “gray wolf” in English, in reference to the threat tribes faced from predators attacking their livestock.
The host nation won the Kok-Buru tournament after defeating Kazakhstan 15-3 in the final, while China came third.
It also came top of the overall medal table with 79 medals – 25 of them gold.
Other contests included horseback javelin-throwing, wrestling on a horse, and traditional archery.
Many of those attending stayed in traditional yurts in Kyrchyn Gorge, while there were a number of concerts and activities for spectators.