Some have likened Kok-Boru to an ultraviolent version of polo.
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Organizers say the games – first staged by impoverished Kyrgyzstan in 2014 – are aimed at boosting nomadic traditions threatened by globalization and should draw competitors from some 40 countries this year.For a poor country like Kyrgyzstan that has faced two revolutions and oscillated between democracy and authoritarianism in its 25 years of independence, the Nomad Games have become a point of national pride.Overlooking a mixed male-and-female training session for Kyrgyzstan's national team of mas-wrestling – a one-on-one stick-pulling competition whose origins can be traced to Russia's Turkic-speaking Yakutia province – coach Talaibek Janybayev says sports such as his can be "unifying".When the games begin it will likely be overshadowed by sports like Er Enish – wrestling on horseback – and Kok-Boru polo, cheered on by locals as well as curious foreign tourists, among them Hollywood action man Steven Seagal.
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