China Daily: Spectacular sporting competitions of nomads will be demonstrated in Issyk-Kul
The Second World Nomad Games are planned for the beginning of September 2016, on the shores of the beautiful alpine Lake Issyk-Kul. These Games were first initiated in 2012, and the First Games took place in 2014. According to the organizers of these Games, in a quickly changing world, it’s time to show the most impressive nomadic games and sports. Many nations around the world have nomadic roots, and thus they have their own captivating types of sports. In many areas, such as Australia, African countries, Mongolia, Central Asia, South Asia, and in the Arab world, fascinating traditional sporting competitions are being held to this day. Almost none of these sports are included in lists of well-known modern sports. Of these sports, horse races, camel races, horse games, and intellectual games are widely popular among formerly nomadic countries. Among the largest countries in the world, such as USA, China, Russia, Norway, and Australia, competitions are held among various exotic sports. As part of preserving cultural diversity and the humanity of sports, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambaev suggesting the idea of holding the First World Nomad Games in 2012. In his words, the mission of these Games was to “revive and preserve the culture, uniqueness and ways of life of different peoples in the age of globalization.” His initiative was supported by the heads of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkey. “The goal of organizing the Nomad Games was to breathe new life into these sports, sports which are not known well in the world, but that are really popular in these countries where nomadic people live or lived,” said Nurdin Sultanbaev, head of the Secretariat of the Second World Nomad Games 2016. According to the creator of these Games, the competitions can be held every two years in countries with a nomadic past or in countries that are prepared to hold these games. However, after seeing the troubles that came with the debut Games, the hope that either Kazakhstan or Turkey would host the Second Games was dashed. Thus, Kyrgyzstan decided to host the Second Nomad Games.
At the First Games, athletes from 19 countries participated in 10 different kinds of nomadic sports. At the Second Games, organizers are planning for not less than 40 countries to participate in 23 types of sport. Visitors will see a festival of martial arts, horse races and competitions, archery contests, demonstrations of different types of hunting with birds of prey and dogs, called taigans. According to the Organizing Committee of the Games, 35 countries have already sent in applications for participation. This includes Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Israel, India, Italy, Colombia, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, USA, Sri Lanka, Ecuador and Japan. In the words of the organizers of the First Games, about 4 million US dollars were spent on the first Games. Preparation for the Second Games is being carried out at a heightened pace. An international airport is up and running on the shores of the lake, construction on the Hippodrome has been completed for a price of 20 million dollars, a new sports center was built in Cholpon-Ata, and a yurt village was built in Kyrchyn Gorge, where the unique lifestyles and traditions of nomadic peoples will be shown. Yurts, traditional to nomadic peoples, will be set up, and will display hand-made traditional decorations made by masters of arts. The folklore festival will welcome visitors and guests during the entire Games. The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is rebuilding the roads from the airport to the venues of the Games, in order to best accommodate guests and visitors to the Games. Additional financial resources were allocated for these projects. According to President Atambaev, “the road will be completely finished before the end of the year, and the Hippodrome will be ready before the beginning of the Games. This will be the only hippodrome in CIS countries that is licensed to hold horse races at an international level.”
For Kyrgyzstan, which is going through a tough economic period, these Games, which involve so many countries, are very important. After a period of unrest and two revolutions, Kyrgyzstan is hoping for stable growth. The weak economy is relying on foreign investment for the development of the mining and energy sectors. The successful execution of the World Nomad Games is aimed at showing international society, and Kyrgyzstan’s close partners, that the country has found a stable route for growth and is able to hold an event of the highest class. Even a strong and more economically powerful country such as Kazakhstan has not decided to hold an event like this. This country intends on becoming the center of nomadic civilization and is making its own rules by holding the Games. By being the center of this movement, Kyrgyzstan is bringing this institution to itself.
Athletes from China are planning to participate in the 2016 Games in eight types of sport, including national types of wrestling and horse competitions. A sporting delegation from Inner Mongolia will be representing China. Chinese and Mongolian athletes intend to also present demonstrations to show their master of traditional games that didn’t make it into the World Nomad Games. Still, the list of competitive sports at the Nomad Games will of course grow, and the venues will also get bigger. Contributing to this is the fact that lots of media companies, including CNN, the Japanese NHK, and several European companies, were accredited to cover the Games. A promo-clip on Euronews, released by Kyrgyzstan, is also drawing interest to the Games.