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We will try to describe our experience at the III Edition of the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan, 2018 in a nutshell.

The creation of the games

fires at the World Nomad Games

First, let’s start with the reason the world has the nomad games today. Its creator, whom we interviewed, told us that during the events they organised when he was the head of several sports federations in Kyrgyzstan, there was always a buy me a rose lyrics cultural event of other cultures, such as Japanese, Mongolian and so on. He then thought, why not having an event to tell the story of the Kyrgyz People. But, to make it more interesting to the world, he decided to join with other nations in order to create the World Nomad Games, which tell the stories of nomadic people all over the world.

man on fire during a presentation of the World Nomad Games

Man on fire during one of the presentations telling the story of the nomads

With that in mind, the World Nomad Games is buy sominex online uk not only about competition. Especially this edition – by the way, the games happen every two years and started in 2014 – there was an Etno Village.

Kyrchyn Gorge in Kyrgyzstan

The Kyrchyn Gorge

In there, people could experience some of the nomadic traditions, such as living in yurts, clothing and specific cultural aspects from different nomadic civilizations, such as Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and even the USA.

An African group presentation at the Cultural Amphiteatre at the World Nomad Games

An African group presentation at the Cultural Amphiteatre

The Etno Village at Kyrchyn Gorge, with over a thousand yurts, was a such gorgeous place that we had to literally hide the camera away to enjoy some of it with our eyes as we couldn’t stop taking photos and filming it.

Woman dressing in traditional clothes of nomadic Kyrgyz

Woman dressing in traditional clothes of nomadic Kyrgyz

As part of the whole event, there was also a nomadic-style built amphitheatre as well. Over there, there was no sports competition, but nomadic fashion shows and other cultural events.

dancing presentation at the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan

Woman from Ecuador presenting at the World Nomad Games

And, obviously, there were the games!

Nations at the World Nomad Games

The games are all based on nomadic traditions, which involves a lot of horseback activities, falconry, many different types of wrestling and archery. The highlights were the horseback archery, horseback wrestling and the mesmerising Kok-Buru.

By the way, Kyrgyzstan is a very famous destination for cyclists. If you are looking for some cycling activities, we wrote a full article about cycling in Slovenia.

Horseback archery

horseback archery from Kazakhstan at the World Nomad Games

In female horseback archery, the winner was from Turkey, having the Kyrgyz representative, Aida – whom we interviewed too, as her main sport is archery with her feet – in second. In this sport, the competitor has to ride the horse through an aisle where there are three aims facing different angles. The trick here is to control the horse without your hands and have great aim while riding. Needless to explain its relationship with nomadic lifestyle :).

Horseback Wrestling

Er Enish, wrestling on a horse at the World Nomad Games

The horseback wrestling, named Er Enish, was also interesting. This warrior-like game resembles a battle and requires strength, not just from the competitor, but also for the horse. The rules are a bit confused, though.

Er nish, wrestling on a horse at the World Nomad Games

Player pulling the opponent on Er Enish

Surely, the goal here is to make any part of the opponent’s body to touch the ground.  However, there is more to it. Each nation has 5 “warriors” and each “battle” lasts for 6 minutes. At the end of each battle, if there is no clear victory achieved – by pulling the opponent to the ground – then a victory is declared on points. The nation with the most victories after the 5 “warriors” fight, or when a difference of 10 points is achieved, wins the game – at least what we understood of it!


kok buru at the World Nomad Games

Kok-Buru! What a game. This was one of the reasons we wanted to come to the World Nomad Games. We wanted to understand where the idea of playing a polo-like game with a dead goat comes from.

kok buru at the World Nomad Games

By the way, there is even a hashtag #deadgoatpolo on instagram. Just to start us off, the headless goat weights 35kg! Imagine pulling it from the ground on a horse. Tiago tried to lift from the ground, no horses involved, and struggled.

tiago picking up a goat from the floor

Tiago struggling to pick up the goat

Anyway, there are large circular “goals” on each end of the pitch where the players have to score goals, or “goats”.

scoring a goat at the World Nomad Games

About to score a “goat”

The game has roots in the ancient nomad tradition of protecting their cattle from wolves. Every time a wolf was captured, they would throw them from side to side, as punishment. This led to a headless goat polo-like game, which in fact, as we heard and don’t for a fact, is where polo comes from. The English adapted Kok-Buru into polo from Afghanistan.

kazakhstan playing kok-buru at the World Nomad Games

player from Kazakhstan carrying the goat

We interview the coach of the Kyrgyzstan team, obviously the winner of the game, who plainly and directly told us that, to him, this is a sport and he is not really interested in the relationship with the nomadic culture.

picking up the goat at kok buru in the World Nomad Games

player picking up a goat from the floor

Interesting too was the adhesion of France in Kok-Buru on this edition of the World Nomad Games. Comprehensible enough, they didn’t even score a goal. In fact, they couldn’t even pick up the goat from the ground. Kyrgyzstan literally allowed them to pick it up so they could start the game. Anyway, well done France for diversifying your sport activities!

kok buru at the World Nomad Games

What happened at the Closing Ceremony

Kyrgyz woman dancing at the closing ceremony of the World Nomad Games

To finalise, we learnt something interesting about Kyrgyz people at the Closing Ceremony. After the whole week seeing the nomadic culture and games, we attended the Closing Ceremony. As we were in the press centre and not with the crowd, at some point, we were like “Yeah, these presentations are beautiful, but…”

Kyrgyz man with a flag at the World Nomad Games

You know, we didn’t understand what they were singing or what they were saying. So, we decided to wander about the hippodrome where the whole crowd was, away from the press. Then we found out: they know how to party! Everybody was singing along, waving flags, standing up, dancing and so on. We were missing it out, standing at the press centre.

kyrgyz man at the closing ceremony of the World Nomad Games

Not long after finding this out, one of the minister – I would say the minister of tourism, but not really sure – who, by the way, was having a great time dancing and singing as well, opened the gates which divided the arena and the standings, turning that huge space in between into a massive dance floor. It was awesome!

crowd waving flags at the World Nomad Games

The next World Nomad Games

horses galloping at the World Nomad Games

The sad news for some, but good for others, is that the 2020 edition of the World Nomad Games will be in Turkey. Sad because Kyrgyz people feel the World Nomad Games is something they created, they did and it should remain in Kyrgyzstan. Good, because some people believe there will be a massive improvement in infrastructure, both for visitors and athletes, in Turkey, allowing the games to grow and develop even further and being more known to the world. I guess is wait and see.

After the games, we took an awesome 4×4 from Travel Land Kyrgyzstan to explore more about the nomadic life. First stop was travelling almost 2000km to the former Aral Sea in Uzbekizstan.