NOW that the Rio 2016 Olympics have ended and the Paralympics have yet to begin, it appears that eastern Kyrgyzstan is where all the global action is at with the second World Nomad Games - a celebration of Central Asian nomadic heritage that features sports like mass-wrestling and eagle hunting, and an opening ceremony that features displays of flaming horsemen (above).
Check out some highlights from this year’s Games, which ends this week.
The martial arts ace, actor and friend of Russia dressed up like an ancient Kyrgyz warrior and rode in on a horse as the Games’ guest of honour.
Feats of horseback riding were rampant throughout the Games, which took place at Issyk Kul lake in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, like this guy who took riding side-saddle to the extreme.
Forty nations with strong nomadic traditions are participating in the Games, including Russia and the United States.
Kazakh and U.S. (red) riders play the traditional Central Asian sport buzkashi also known as kok-boru, “a violent Central Asian form of polo in which two teams battle for control of a decapitated goat carcass” which the Guardian describes as the Games’ biggest draw.
Kyrgyz people in native dress hang out in front of two of the more than 300 traditional yurts on display.
Participants hold golden eagles for an eagle hunt.
“If Genghis Khan were alive, he’d want to be here.”
So said an announcer during the Opening Ceremony, and we believe it. An archer shoots on horseback.