The French writer and philosopher Albert Camus reportedly once said, “Everything I know about morality and the obligations of men, I owe it to football.” Camus obviously never saw how the Beautiful Game is played in Tajikistan.
Every Sunday a group of Central Asian men gather to play volleyball in a school stadium located not far from the Kantemirovskaya metro station in Moscow. For participants, the weekly competition offers a welcome respite from the usual rigors faced by labor migrants in the Russian capital.
The home opener on a recent Saturday for FC Kairat, Kazakhstan’s most storied football club, featured lots of pre-game pomp, the sort of festivities that tend to swaddle major sporting events around the globe.
The lumbering and stubborn Bactrian camel might not be an obvious contender in a polo match, but a Mongolian initiative to save the two-humped beasts is taking a traditional sport of the steppes and giving it a new twist.
The International Olympic Committee’s proposal to boot wrestling from the 2020 Summer Olympic Games is creating waves in the South Caucasus, especially in Georgia, where the sport is known for producing medals and glory.
For many in Turkey, the name “Baglar,” a slum district in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, a center of the Turkish state’s decades-long conflict with Kurdish rebels, conjures up images of masked youngsters clashing with police, throwing stones or Molotov cocktails. But for 37-year-old local schoolteacher Gokhan Yildirim, the name means just one thing – basketball.
When members of Team Uzbekistan returned from the London Olympic Games last month, they were hailed at the airport by cheering crowds and enthusiastic television news coverage. But sports fans are grumbling, complaining that Tashkent’s lumbering, centralized way of managing sports is to blame for a disappointing medal harvest.