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A traditional game of the nomadic peoples of central Asia, which has been seen as an antecedent of modern equestrian polo. It has survived into the 21st century in an Afghan form, ‘characterized by a dusty melee in which hundreds of mountain tribesmen struggled to seize the headless carcass of a goat’ (Allen Guttmann, Sports: The First Five Millennia, 2004). In one variant the single victor was the individual who could get hold of one of the animal's legs and drag it clear of the rest of the horsemen. The sport is considered to be the Afghan (male's) national sport, and attracts crowds of thousands, justified by its practitioners and apologists as a means of teaching the riders not just equestrian skills, but principles of communication and teamwork.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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