When a mayor in southern Kyrgyzstan hires "sportsmen" as his advisers, it isn't generally because he is determined to improve the health of his fellow citizens. Melis Myrzakmatov, the virulently nationalist mayor of Osh, has appointed 15 coaches at local sporting clubs in the city as his advisers, 24.kg news agency reported April 21.Moreover, Myrzakmatov has given sports clubs about $1,000 each out of the official budget, supposedly to help prepare for the 6th Republican Sports Olympiad to be held in Osh this year. Fifteen sportsmen have also been given cash tokens worth more than $5,100 to pay for university tuition.Osh was the center of interethnic violence between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities last June that left hundreds dead.24.kg cites Myrzakmatov as noting that despite the tragic events in Osh in 2010, this year will see only peace and serenity, and that fine achievements will be accomplished in the fields of culture, sports and public affairs.That is more than a little disingenuous, however, since it is well known that sports clubs in Osh are notorious breeding grounds for heavies and thugs. To earn their support means being certain of having several hundred burly men at your beck and call whenever the need arises.While authorities have tried in their own, often inept, way to restore trust between the ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities in Osh, Myrzakmatov has been openly contemptuous of the Uzbek minority and done little to help soothe tensions.The central government in Bishkek tried to force Myrzakmatov to step down back in August. That attempt ended in humiliating failure, however, and Myrzakmatov was greeted by jubilant crowds in Osh after meetings with the leadership in Bishkek. Common wisdom has had it since then that Osh is effectively beyond Bishkek's writ, although Myrzakmatov has maintained a fairly low profile and preferred not to attract unwanted attention. Growing reliance on Osh's sporting fraternity suggests he is not about to let his guard down.