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.


‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

Updated 22 October 2018
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‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

AUSTIN: Sebastian Vettel said he felt mixed emotions after keeping his slender title challenge alive by finishing fourth in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, won by Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
The four-time champion, who started fifth on the grid after taking a three-place penalty, recovered from an opening lap spin to fight through the field in a tactical contest that left Lewis Hamilton frustrated in his bid to clinch his fifth drivers world title.
“My feelings? Mixed,” he said. “Happy. Really happy for Kimi. But not much for me. It should have been a better day.”
Vettel can only stop Hamilton taking his fifth drivers title next weekend in Mexico by winning the race and hoping Hamilton hits problems that keep him out of the top seven places.
He said he suffered a major blow when he clashed with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.
“I must have been in his blind spot. I’m not sure he saw me. The corner kept tightening and we hit. It was a big loss for me.”
Vettel’s disappointment took nothing away from a resurgent Ferrari’s satisfaction in recovering their mid-season pace, after abandoning several recent upgrades, and claiming a revitalising victory.
“I am very proud of them all,” said Ferrari team chief Maurizio Arrivabene.
“I was always proud of the guys and even more when we are winning races. It’s been hard for us recently and we had a race engineer pass away last weekend.... I have nothing more to add. It was great today. Thank you USA!“
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted that Ferrari had been faster than his team, as he had feared.
“We lacked the pace and I said don’t close it too early. They are very fast. Kimi winning is great for him and for Ferrari, so let’s go to the next race in Mexico now.
“It was difficult to overtake, but for us it was a strategy that got worse as it progressed. We need to re-think and see what we can do better. We put on a good show altogether and that’s what’s more important.”