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Asia Holds First 'Kokpar' Championship

The first Asian championship in kokpar, or buzkashi, began in the Kazakh capital Astana on September 11. Teams from Afghanistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan will compete in the tournament, which concludes on September 15. The sport -- which is often compared to polo -- is particularly popular among Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Afghans in Central and South Asia. Both polo and kokpar/buzkashi feature rough play by people on horseback who are propelling an object toward a goal. But while polo is played with a ball, kokpar/buzkashi is played with a headless goat. Polo matches are played for fixed periods totaling about an hour; traditional kokpar/buzkashi can go for days, but in its regulated tournament version also has a limited match time. (12 PHOTOS)