Being nomadic and traveling nearly 365 days of the year is in many ways a dream job for me. However, one thing that I really miss about being back home in Canada is having the opportunity to follow sports throughout the year. When I had the opportunity to attend the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan, the dormant sports junkie inside of me jumped at the opportunity.
World Nomad Games
The World Nomad Games are a sports and cultural event held in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan (not Bishkek) and they are an attempt to preserve and promote nomadic culture and traditions throughout Central Asia. This was only the second year the event was held, yet it featured 23 sports and drew athletes from over 40 different countries.
World Nomad Games Video:
In this video you’ll see our experience attending the World Nomad Games
If you have trouble viewing this video click here: http://youtu.be/KwDoJVCLm2Y
World Nomad Games: Favorite Sports
As mentioned previously there were 23 different sports at the games. Here is a brief overview of some of my personal favourite sports. Keep in mind none of these sports were familiar to me at all prior to attending the games!
This sport was my personal favorite and it was definitely the most popular event at the World Nomad Games. Basically, two teams on horseback play something that sort of resembles polo, except instead of using a ball, they’re carrying and tossing a goat carcass with the intention of scoring a goal against their opponent. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get right on the field during the game. I got a little overzealous at one point getting too close to the action and I had to retreat suddenly as horse-mounted players galloped in my direction. My favorite match was between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan with the Krygyz team coming out on top.
Two wrestlers face each other with the soles of their feet on opposite sides of a wooden board. In their hands they’re holding a stick, and it’s basically a tug-o-war to either get the stick or pull their opponent over to their side of the board. These typically massive men were physically exhausted by the end of a match even if the game only lasted a few brief seconds.
This was my favorite hunting/prey event involving eagles. The competition was to see how fast eagles can fly while chasing after a fox skin over a stretch of 200 meters. It wasn’t only the human athletes that impressed me during these games!
Here is a complete list of the sports from the World Nomad Games.
World Nomad Games Photo Essay
Now, my favorite photos from the event in no particular order.
Now it is over to you! Had you previously heard of the World Nomad Games? What do you now think of the event?
Any particular sport you’re more interested in viewing as a spectator? What did you think of the various events?
Let me know in the comments section below:
This trip was made possible with the support of Discover Kyrgyzstan and USAID. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own.