August 27, 2017
Kazakhstan beat Kyrgyzstan 4-1 to capture the inaugural world championship in kokpar [buzkashi], or kok-boru — an ancient equestrian sport in which a goat carcass is traditionally used as a ball.
The Kazakh team took home 10 million tenge ($30,000) for their first place win on August 27, while Kyrgyzstan received 5 million tenge ($15,000) as the runner up. Earlier in the day, Tajikistan topped China 2-1 to finish in third place and receive 3 million tenge ($9,000) in prize money.
National teams from 11 countries — Afghanistan, China, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, the United States, and Uzbekistan — took part in the weeklong championship.
Azerbaijan was also invited to play in the tournament but did not participate for unspecified reasons.
In the ancient nomadic game, which translates into “goat grabbing,” players on horseback from two teams would battle to control a headless, freshly slaughtered goat and score goals by depositing it into the opponent’s goal.
While the premise of the sport remains the same today, an imitation goat carcass was used at the tournament held in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
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