Kyrzygstan – Kokboru
One of the most popular sports in Central Asia is kokboru. It is also known under names like kokpar and buzkashi, depending on the region. Having been a nomadic society for thousands of years, horse riding is a strong part of Central Asian culture. In a match of kokboru, two teams of players on horse back try to score points by throwing a goat carcass in each other's goals. After the game, the goat is given to the winning team and used for food.
Professional kok-boru players getting ready for a match in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Kok-boru is a rough sport for both the players and the horses. This horse lost his grip because of the slippery mud. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Kok-boru player trying to grab the goat from the ground while riding. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
After a foul or when the goat is out of play, a kok-boru game restarts in one of three circles on the field. One player of each team is allowed inside. The other players cannot participate until the goat leaves the circle.
Good kok-boru horses can cost up to $50,000. A strong horse can participate in matches for over 20 years.
Kok-boru is played all over Central Asia with slight rule variations. It is also known as kokpar in Kazakhstan and buzkashi in Afghanistan.
A whip is used by kok-boru players to fend of opposing horses and players. Players clench the whip between their teeth when they need both hands to control their horses or carry the goat carcass.
The goats used in kok-boru typically weigh 30+ kg and get even heavier and slippery by the wet mud. Kok-boru players have to pick up the goat from the ground while riding their horse and getting attacked by opponents.
Playing kok-boru is not without risk. During scuffles, players are sometimes injured by a biting horse on the opposing team.
The aim of kok-boru is to throw the dead goat carcass in the kazan - a circular goal - of the opposing team.
In kok-boru, the "ball" is a decapitated and disemboweled goat that is ritually slaughtered for the game. After the match, the goat's meat is served to the winning team.
A commentator analyses a kok-boru match in the hippodrome in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Kok-boru player trying to steal the goat carcass from another player. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
In a game of kok-boru, two teams of 4 players try to score points by throwing a goat carcass into the other team's goal.
Two players contending for the goat carcass in a game of kok-boru. Since many people in Central Asia used to live as nomads, many sports in the region are played on horseback.