Buzkashi

Buzkashi


Afghanistan's national sport 'Buzkashi' is like polo, with a headless goat.


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Legend has it that the game was first invented centuries ago when Afghan tribes would gallop up on horseback to steal a rival tribe’s goats from their flock. Both defensive and offensive strategies were used which developed into a formalized game whose rules are to this day a bit mysterious.

That's the object: Grab the headless, disembowelled animal carcass (sometimes a calf), circle the field and deliver it to the goal. The other opinion is about the roots of the game Buzkashi originated among the Turkic people of Central Asia centuries ago, and for generations they’ve been passing down the game, and the goat, relatively unchanged. It’s more than a game; it’s a part of the fabric of Afghan life.

The game consists of two main forms: Tudabarai and Qarajai. Tudabarai is considered to be the simpler form of the game. In this version, the goal is simply to grab the goat and move in any direction until clear of the other players. In Qarajai, players must carry the carcass around a flag or marker at one end of the field, then throw it into a scoring circle (the "Circle of Justice") at the other end. The riders will carry a whip to fend off opposing horses and riders. When not in use - e.g. because the rider needs both hands to steer the horse and secure the carcass - the whip is typically carried in the teeth.


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