In early September Kyrgyzstan hosted the 2nd World Nomad Games at the lakeside resort town of Cholpon-ata. The Games kicked off with a lavish opening ceremony on September 3 and closed with an eclectic concert on September 8. The week between was filled with earnest competition, friendly contests, and a full-on Central Asian Burning Man-like festival. Attended by delegations from more than 40 countries–some serious competitors and some perhaps press-ganged backpackers–the Games were a vibrant celebration of nomadic culture. “If Genghis Khan were alive, he’d be here,” the announcer at the opening ceremonies boomed to an appreciative cheer from the crowd.
8 September marked the final day of the World Nomad Games, which saw Kyrgyzstan finishing at the top of the medals table and an impressive closing ceremony. The Games included over 20 sports and games traditional to nomadic cultures, including falconry, horse racing, wrestling and Buzkashi, a Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal. The games were accompanied by a cultural programme, which this year featured music and fashion events.
Kyrgyzstan triumphed in the medals table, winning 79 medals including 25 golds. Making up the rest of the top five were Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan. The second World Nomad Games were held from 3 – 8 September 2016 on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan.