The third annual Ethnosport Cultural Festival has opened Wednesday in Istanbul.
Organized by the World Ethnosports Federation and sponsored by Anadolu Agency, it aims to promote traditional sports and serve as preparation for the Olympics and will allow many successful and talented athletes to shine.
The five-day festival in Istanbul's Yenikapi Square will revive celebrations indigenous to the Turkic world, Central Asia and Anatolia.
Culture and civilizations have many feet. These include art, morality, virtue, development and wealth. As one of them, sports has found its place and interest [has peaked] quickly in Istanbul at the festival today, which we really didn't expect. It was really popular and approved by our citizens, Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin told reporters.
It is our job to create a space for those who want to ride, and to create opportunities for those who want to do traditional archery and wrestling in the city, added Mevlut Uysal, mayor of Istanbul.
In a city like Istanbul, we need to create an area where each of our traditional sports can be performed. I hope we will bring such an area to Istanbul. We will offer opportunities for young people not only to perform during the festivals but also outside the festival periods, he added.
Falcons from Qatar
Aside from traditional Turkish sports, traditional Turkic tents will offer activities such as historical craft shops and a sword-shield dance. Horse parades will also take place.
The festival will become a celebration with traditional Central Asian feasts, traditional dances, horseback riding for both children and adults, children's games and theaters, traditional food as well as tents of Turkic countries and peoples.
A total of 883 athletes will compete in 13 different categories, including aba wrestling, shalwar wrestling, brace wrestling, oil wrestling, mounted archery as well as yabusame. A total of 300 athletes will compete in oil wrestling.
Traditional archery competitions will also be held at the festival.
A competition involving falcons, which hold great importance in the Arab world, will also take place at the Ethnosport Cultural Festival.
In addition, the festival will feature Japanese mounted archery, also known as yabusame, which has drawn admiration and curiosity throughout the world.
A total of 44 tents where visitors can watch sports competitions and participate in cultural activities have been set up.
Over 30 traditional children's games will be available for kids to participate in.
Other favorites like the jump rope, hopscotch or hula-hoop will also be made available.
Characters Rafadan Tayfa and Maysa and Bulut from the animated shows on the TRT Kids TV channel will be there to greet the chidren, who will also have the opportunity to read and write in the ancient Gokturk alphabet.
A total of 45 ancient workshops will focus on handmade art as well.
Here are the sports that will be performed at the festival:
Oil wrestling: A traditional Turkish sport, oil wrestling requires wrestlers to put oil on their bodies and wrestle. The competition will be held in a field called Er Meydani (Field of Contest).
Pantalets Wrestling: Pantalets' wrestling requires wrestlers to put on pantalets with bare feet. All techniques in this type of wrestling will be carried out while standing.
Belt Wrestling: Wrestlers wear belts that surround their waists and try to pin down their opponent on soil or a grassy field.
Javelin Throwing: Played on a horse, javelin throwing requires players to keep their composure on their horses and try to make the other player fall.
Mounted Archery: Also played on a horse, this time players need to hit targets while on a speedy horse and accumulate points.
Archery: Players need to hit targets to be successful in this game.
Gabardine Wrestling: In this type of wrestling, players wear gabardines and belts and try to pin each other down. It is an ancient Central Asian game.
Source: Anadolu Agency