The third annual Ethnosport Cultural Festival will begin in Istanbul on Wednesday.
Organized by the World Ethnosports Federation and sponsored by Anadolu Agency, it aims to promote traditional sports and 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.
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.
In oil wrestling, a total of 300 athletes including 45 chief wrestlers will compete.
Traditional archery competitions will be held at the festival while disabled visitors will attend a barbeque.
Falcons from Qatar
A competition involving falcons, which have great importance in the Arab world, will also take place at the Ethnosport Cultural Festival.
Arriving from Qatar, the falcons will be displayed for the first time in Turkey in the scope of the festival.
In the competition, the falcons will try to reach their prey located 400 meters and 800 meters away as fast as they can.
Anatolia’s famous hawks will accompany the falcons at the festival. Members of the Hawks Association will bring out their special birds.
The Japanese mounted archery sport Yabusame, which has drawn admiration and curiosity throughout the world, will also take place at the festival.
A total of 44 tents will be set up at the festival where visitors will watch sports competitions and participate in cultural activities.
Fourteen tents belonging to Turkic countries and communities will be set up along with a tent for Qatar as well.
The “Ak Ev” (White House) of Kazakh culture will also be set up in the festival field. Twenty regional tents along with some municipalities’ tents will be set up to represent Turkish traditional sports.
150 horses on duty
A total of 150 horses will be on duty at the festival.
Some 85 of those will be used in sports activities while the others will be used to entertain visitors, including children, who can ride them.
An acrobatics team from Kyrgyzstan with horses named Sovgat will also be put on a show for visitors.
33 traditional children’s games
A total of 33 traditional children’s games will be available for kids to play at the Ethnosport Cultural Festival.
Games like spinning top, hula-hoop, tic-tock, riddles, nine stones, jump ropes and hopscotch will be available for visitors and their children.
The TRT Kids TV channel also will be in the field with their animated characters “Rafadan Tayfa” and “Maysa and Bulut” meeting with children.
A Turkish Ottoman Swords and Shields team along with Ottoman Janissary band members will be performing for visitors.
Children will also have access to reading and writing in the ancient Gokturk alphabet.
A total of 45 ancient workshops in handmade art will be available for visitors to learn as well.
Also, ironmongery and a rug and carpet workshop will be displayed.
Sports at festival
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.