National Sport (Buzkashi)
Buzkashi, which literally translated
means "goat grabbing" is the national sport of Afghanistan.
Many historians believe that Buzkashi began with the Turkic-Mongol
people, and it is indigenously shared by the people of Northern
Afghanistan. There are two main types of Buzkashi, Tudabarai and
Qarajai. Tudabarai is relatively simple compared with Qarajai, even
though they share similar objectives.
In Buzkashi, a headless carcass is
placed in the center of a circle and surrounded by the players of
two opposing teams. The object of the game, is to get control of
the carcass and bring it to the scoring area. Although it seems
like a simple task, it is not. Only the most masterful players,
(called chapandaz) ever even get close to the carcass. The competition
is fierce, and the winner of a match receives prizes that have been
donated by a sponsor. These prizes range from money, to fine turbans
and clothes. In order for someone to become a chapandaz, one must
undergo a tremendous amount of difficult training. In fact, the
best chapandaz, are usually over the age of forty. Buzkashi, is
definitely not a game for the weak.
The players are not the only ones
who undergo arduous training; the horses that participate in buzkashi
must train for five years before ever making it to the playing field.
Buzkashi, is indeed a dangerous sport, but intensive training and
excellent communication between the horse and rider can help minimize
the risk of injury.
types of Buzkashi: Tudabarai & Qarajai
In Tudabarai, in order to score, the rider must obtain possession of the
carcass and then carry it away from the starting circle in any direction.
The rider must stay free and clear of the other riders.
In Qarajai, the task is much more complex.
The player must carry the calf around a marker, and then return the carcass
to the team's designated scoring circle.
In each version of the game, points are
awarded for successfully completing the task of getting control of the
carcass, and getting it to the proper scoring area. The winner of each
match receives prizes which have been put up by a sponsor. The top prizes
are usually money, or fine clothes.
To many Afghans, Buzkashi is not just a
game, it is a way of life; a way in which teamwork and communication are
essential to being successful.
Other Popular Sports
Played in Afghanistan
Sports Special to Afghanistan
- Kite Fighting--Participants cover the
strings of their kites with a mixture of powdered glass and flour. Then
they outmaneuver each other in order to cut the string of an opponent's
kite. They do this by rubbing the strings together; this sport is mostly
played by children and young teenagers.
- Topay-danda--(Similar to stick ball)
Universal Sports Played in Afghanistan
- Wrestling (Palwani)
- Martial Arts
- Bicycle racing
There are countless other sports that are played in Afghanistan, but
it only seems fit to list the most popular.
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