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article imageBuzkashi Federation dreams of Olympic Games acceptance

By Kevin Jess     Jan 4, 2010 in Sports
The head of the Buzkashi Federation dreams of having his sport accepted for the Olympic games. It is the national sport of Afghanistan and is described as chaotic, brutal and, by some, immoral.
Friday is Buzkashi day in Afghanistan.
Buzkashi translated into English means "goat grabbing" and is a team sport similar to polo, with a few exceptions. There doesn't appear to be many rules and instead of using a ball, a decapitated goat carcass is used. It is common now to use a calf as it holds together better than a goat.
Riders try to carry the goat carcass across a game field, around a post or flag and back to a predetermined goal circle and since there are no barriers between the crowds and the game, spectators risk being trampled by the stampeding horses as the crowds surge forward to see better. Men use whips to beat back the surging crowds but sometimes it is in vain.
The opposing team must do everything possible, short of killing, to stop their opponents from reaching the goal.
There are no official time-outs so players depend on supporters to carry them or their horses to safety if they happen to get hurt during the game.
Players do try to pad themselves in the legs and crotch but headgear is considered unmanly.
It is the national sport and also the passion of Afghanistan; it draws thousands of spectators, from elite warlords to the penniless.
The Taliban banned the sport in Afghanistan, touting it as immoral but since the U.S. led invasion the sport is back bigger than ever, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The Buzkashi Federation is now attempting a marketing transformation, spurred on by pro football’s and basketball’s growth in the United States over the last several decades, says Mankato Free Press.
Haji Abdul Rashid, head of the government-sponsored Buzkashi Federation, dreams of leagues, corporate sponsorship, television and now hopes for acceptance of the sport into the Olympic games.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rashid said, "A buzkashi rider must be a real man. Not just in his body, but in his heart and his mind."
Rashid says the sport reminds Afghans of their warrior culture, and the goat reminds them of their foe who has perished. He declares, "Buzkashi is Afghanistan."
More about Buzkashi, Sport, Afghanistan, Olympics
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