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Sports in Uzbekistan


The national sport Kupkari (in some areas of Uzbekistan, namely in Ferghana valley, it is called uloq ) is a team game in which the two mounted teams attempt to deliver a headless and legless goat's or ram’s carcass weighing 30 - 40kg over the opposition's goal line. A line of horsemen flies off at the sign of the judge. One of them outrides the others and at full speed picks up the carcass of a goat from the ground. Tat fraction of a second is enough for the other riders to catch up with him and try to take away his trophy. This game called ulak or kupkari in Uzbek, means "the game of many people". In Russian the game is also called "flaying the goat".
Kupkari is the most popular kind of the equestrian sport not only among Uzbeks but also among some neighbouring people such as Kazakhs, Kirghizs, Afghans, Tajiks and Karakalpaks. They have different names for it, but despite some difference, it all boils down to picking up the carcass of a goat and bring it to the finish.
Horses begin to be trained for the kupkari when they are four or five years old, and they remain active until the age of 20 or 25. The largest number of participants competes in the kupkari. The game continues for 60 minutes, three periods of 20 minutes each. Victory goes to the team that succeeds in throwing the goat's carcass into the rival's finish ring more times than the other teams. And the horseman who throws the greatest number of carcasses into the toy - kazan (finish ring) becomes the champion. The rules are rather strict. Horsemen are allowed to wrestle the goat from an opponent, but physical assault is frowned upon. They are not allowed to ride in the direction of the spectators, and spectators are not allowed to help them pick up the carcass from the ground. No one is permitted to ride over a horseman who has bent to pick the carcass off the ground. The prizes are camels, bulls, goats, car, carpets & household appliances.

Kurash is the traditional upright wrestling originated in Uzbekistan more than 3500 years ago. It is similar to free - style wrestling, but one of the advantages of Kurash rules is that they prohibit ground wrestling. Once the knee of one of the players touches the floor the referee stops the action and players should restart action from the initial upright standing position. It is also not allowed to grapple below the waist. This makes Kurash a truly speedy, dynamic and interesting to watch sport.
Besides that, the rules of Kurash strictly prohibit players to use any armlocks, chocking and strangling techniques. It helps players to avoid many injuries and makes Kurash one of the safest types of martial art to practice.
The original translation of the word "Kurash" from the Uzbek language is grappling or wrestling. Kurash as a type of martial art or public sport entertainment is mentioned in many ancient oriental historical sources. The legendary 1000 - year - old Central Asian epos "Alpomish" describes Kurash as one of the most respected and beloved sports widely practiced by the ancient people in Central Asia. The names of the strongest Kurash players became legendary, like the Pahlavan Mahmud who lived in XII century. His grave located in Khiva, is still considered by people of Central Asia as a holy pilgrimage place.
According to the statistics, now there are 2 million wrestlers all over Uzbekistan. On 6th September 1998 representatives of 28 states of Europe, Asia and America gathered in Tashkent to establish the International Kurash Association - the official international sport body to represent and coordinate Kurash in the world of sport. Presently the IKA unites five Continental federations and more than 70 national Kurash federations in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and America.
Other sports are as follows: Football is most popular in Uzbekistan. National footbal team of Uzbekistan is one of the best in Asia. There is skiing in the mountains above Tashkent.
The martial arts, particularly Taekwon - Do and Boxing are also popular.