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An Unusual Sport Called Buzkashi

The Meaning of Buzkashi

Buzkashi or Kokpar is a Central Asian sport. Buz in Turkic means goat and Kashi means Bashing. In this sport players mount the horse and drag the goat body towards a goal. In the ancient time this game used to last for several days, but then it was regulated in the modern time and it gets completed within a stipulated time.

An Unusual Sport Called Buzkashi

Who plays the Buzkashi?

Buzkashi is highly popular among the Pashtuns, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras and Turkmens. The other names for Buzkashi are Kokboru (Blue Wolf), Ullak Tartish, Kuk Pari, Kok Beru and Ulak Tyrtysh. The parts of Western China, where the Tajiks are found in the Xinjiang province they play Buzkashi by mounting on Yaks!

Rules and Verities of Buzkashi

The sport of Buzkashi is conducted by the  Olympic Federation of Afghanistan. Under the rules the horse rider is no more allowed to knockdown the other rider, which was allowed during the ancient times. The Riders wear heavy and protective cloths while playing the game. The players also wear high heel boots so that they can lock into the burden of the horse which will help them to lean on the side of the horse so that they can pick the remains of the goat easily. You will be surprise to know that the prize to win a Buzkashi battle may not be in money only, it can be anything, including the players lives being taken care by the wealthy Afghans.

Buzkashi Rules as per Afghan Olympic Federation

  • The ground has to be square with 400 meters long layout on either side.
  • Each team will have 10 riders.
  • Only five riders from both the teams can play in a half.
  • Each half consists of 45 minutes.
  • 15 minute break between two halves.
  • A referee supervises the game.
  • A rider can be substituted by another one subject to referee’s prior permission.

Ban on Buzkashi in Afghanistan

It is really surprising to know that a sport which has recognition as a ‘national sport’ in Afghanistan was banned during the Taliban Rule. Prior to the Taliban rule Buzkashi used to play during the weekly holiday of Friday and used to attract thousands of fans. Since the Taliban regime was ousted Buzkashi is back with its previous flair.


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