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Türkiye kickstarts 4th World Nomad Games amid fanfare

At least 3,000 athletes from 102 countries will participate in the 4th World Nomad Games hosted by Türkiye from September 29 to October 2. The venue of this grand sporting spectacle is in the ancient town of Iznik in northwestern Bursa province. 

The contestants will compete in games such as horseback archery, pahlavani and flight shooting among others. The organisers say the idea of the event is to preserve the historic nomadic traditions.

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“We will have tens of different sports from different geographies of the world to be held in a showcase kind of event rather than competition between countries,” says Bilal Erdogan, president of the World Ethnosport Confederation, which is one of the event’s organisers.

“Traditional sports scene is very rich. There are over 100 varieties of wrestling only. So, there are games we can hold competitions for and there are games we can only showcase to people for them to see it for the first time.

“This is going to be an amazing cultural show. We hope it will be interesting to see for people within Türkiye and outside,” Erdogan said.

Originally envisioned a decade ago in 2012, the first three editions were hosted by Kyrgyzstan in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The widespread Covid-19 pandemic prolonged the staging of the fourth edition, until now.

The decision to award hosting rights is taken after a consultative process by the Council of Head of States of the Organisation of Turkic States.

The Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports, the World Ethnosport Confederation, Turkish Traditional Sports Federation and the secretariat of the Organisation of Turkic States are cooperating as a part of the organising committee for this year’s edition.

Last month, Türkiye was at the centre of another international sporting festival, with the Islamic Solidarity Games seeing two weeks of fierce sporting rivalry among over 4,000 athletes from 56 Muslim countries in Konya.

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Erdogan says this is a mission for his country. “We are in the middle of everything,” he tells TRT World. “We need to take this advantage to unite people, to bring people together for various reasons and purposes.”

And sports provide for a platform to make it happen.

“We want to revive traditional sports and games throughout the world for all cultures and peoples, and we see this as a uniting purpose,” he says.

“Because by only emphasising your own identity and culture, you can establish conversations based on mutual respect. And I think Türkiye’s position in that and its diplomatic success over the recent years makes this even better.”

The participating athletes will feature in 11 sporting competitions. 

Alongside the Games, the festival will have on display cultural exhibitions from the participating countries.

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