Kyrgyzstan all set to host World Nomad Games for the third time

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A woman shoots an arrow using her feet. (Getty Images)
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A Kyrgyz stuntman. (Getty images)
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Wrestling (Getty images)
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A competitor with his golden eagle. (Getty images
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French and Uzbek riders play Kok Boru.  (Getty images)
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Horse competition. (Getty images)
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Dog judging. (Getty images)
Updated 07 September 2018
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Kyrgyzstan all set to host World Nomad Games for the third time

  • Held once every two years, Kyrgyzstan is hosting 2018’s dazzling display of traditional sports

 

DUBAI: The Olympic Games might be the world’s oldest celebration of sport, but a newer player on the global stage offers a fascinating alternative. 

The World Nomad Games, being held for the third time in Kyrgyzstan this week, are a dazzling display of traditional sports in this corner of the world.

Held once every two years since 2014 under the patronage of UNESCO, the games have been growing steadily, from 20 countries attending the first event to 80 this year, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

This year’s high-profile visitors included Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country will host the fourth World Nomad Games in 2020, and the Crown Prince of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Sharqi.

Since Sunday’s opening in Cholpon-Ata on the shores of Issyk-Kul Lake, there have been yurt-building competitions and nomad fashion shows, but mostly there have been sports.

Competitions involve traditional takes on well-known sports such as archery, arm-wrestling, tug of war, sumo wrestling and horse racing, but many are much lesser known. Take Kok Boru, for instance: A traditional Kyrtyz horseback competition in which teams throw a dead sheep or goat into their opponent’s well on the field. It dates back to a time when men returning from the hunt would chase the wolves away from their sheep, picking them up and throwing them between one another. 

There is also more than one form of belt wrestling, an ancient nomad way of fighting that involves going after your opponent’s belt. And if all of this sounds a little rough, there are also “intellectual games” such as mangala, played with stones on a board.

It should come as no surprise that Kyrgyzstan, as the host for three years running, was well ahead in the medal count heading into the final day on Saturday, although the UAE was reported to have won a gold medal.

Decoder

World Nomad Games terms

Alysh - Traditional Kyrgyz belt wrestling, one of the country’s most ancient games, in which the goal is to pin down the opponent by holding their belt. Ashyrtmaly Aba Gureshi - Traditional Turkish wrestling, involving different holds on the opponent’s body or clothing. Burkut Saluu - Kyrgyz hunting using eagles and dogs. Dalba - Kyrgyz hunting with a falcon. Er Enish - Kyrgyz horesback wrestling. Kok Boru - A traditional Kyrtyz horseback competition in which teams throw a dead sheep or goat into their opponent’s well on the playing field. Mangala - A Turkish intellectual game involving stones on a board.


The 'magnificent seven's' route to the FIFA Club World Cup final

Updated 12 December 2018
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The 'magnificent seven's' route to the FIFA Club World Cup final

  • Two Arab teams set to take on the world's best in the UAE.
  • The seven teams have won 309 major trophies between them.

ABU DHABI: The FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 is here and Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are all set to host eight thrilling matches from Dec. 12-22 , between seven teams comprising various club champions from six FIFA confederations and the all-conquering home champions.

Collectively, the seven teams have won 309 major trophies including national league and cup titles, continental competitions, and past editions of the FIFA Club World Cup and its predecessor, the Intercontinental Cup.

Representing Oceania, New Zealand’s Team Wellington FC wrote a new chapter in their football history by winning the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League for the first time in May. ‘Team Welly’ became the tournament’s second confirmed qualifier when they defeated Fijian champions Lautoka FC 10-3 on aggregate in a two-legged final.

Coached by Englishman José Manuel Figueira, the semi-professional team will contest an opening qualifier against Al-Ain, the reigning Arabian Gulf League (AGL) champions, at the UAE side’s Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday. Nicknamed “The Boss,” Al-Ain FC qualified for the tournament following their own historic season in 2017/18, where they completed a domestic UAE President’s Cup and AGL double for the first time in their history. Al Ain FC are marking their 50th anniversary celebrations this year.

The winner of the Al-Ain vs Team Wellington qualifier will progress to the second round to face Espérance Sportive de Tunis, the new club champions of Africa. The Tunisian side qualified for the tournament with a 4-3 aggregate win over Egyptian giants Al-Ahly SC in November’s two-legged CAF Champions League final.



In the other second-round clash, Asia meets North America as AFC champions Kashima Antlers from Japan face Mexico’s CD Guadalajara, who become the first continental champion to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 following a dramatic 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Toronto FC in the North and Central American and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) Champions League in April.

Both second-round games will take place at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday, with Kashima Antlers facing CD Guadalajara and Espérance Sportive de Tunis facing either Al-Ain or Team Wellington.

The action stays in Al-Ain with two more games on Tuesday Dec.18. The losing sides from the second round will contest a fifth-place playoff, before Kashima Antlers or CD Guadalajara face Argentinian side Club Atlético River Plate in the tournament’s first semifinal.

River Plate won the right to represent South America’s CONMEBOL confederation and become the tournament’s final confirmed qualifier after defeating domestic rivals Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores final last weekend.

From there, one of Espérance Sportive de Tunis, Al-Ain FC or Team Wellington will face history-making UEFA Champions League winners, Real Madrid, in the second semifinal on Wednesday Dec. 19 at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium. The Spanish club beat English Premier League side Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev in May to become the first team to win three consecutive editions of Europe’s premier club tournament.

The UAE capital stadium will also host the tournament’s two remaining games, a third-and-fourth playoff and the final itself, at 17.30 and 20.30 UAE time, respectively, on Saturday Dec. 22.

“Our magnificent seven are confirmed and the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 is now here. The teams are ready, the fans are ready, and Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the UAE are ready,” said His Excellency Aref Hamed Al Awani, Tournament Director, FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 Local Organizing Committee.