Wrestling as a national sport of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is a small mountainous country with a small number of inhabitants. Most of the territory is occupied by mountains and has no access to the sea. The population of the country is only 6 million people. Although in terms of its geographic and economic indicators, Kyrgyzstan is inferior to its neighbors, the small but proud people are distinguished by their will for freedom and self-expression and do not tolerate justice. This is reflected not only in political life but also in everyday life and in sports too. In particular, I would like to focus on “wrestling” not only as a sports discipline, but also as a part of the nomadic lifestyle of the Kyrgyz.

Wrestling as a form of competition originated in antiquity since the time of the Sumerians 5000 years ago. For the Greeks, wrestling was a science and a sacred art, and during the Roman Empire, wrestling was the favorite sport of young aristocrats, soldiers and shepherds.

Wrestling in the history of Kyrgyzstan as a sport appeared under Soviet rule, but the Kyrgyz used to practice as a form of competition between tribes and peoples to resolve disputed territorial issues in order to avoid bloody wars. This can be observed in the epic Manas, when all neighboring peoples, both friendly and enemies, were invited to the commemoration of Khan Kokotoi. When the Kalmyk warrior-wrestler Zholoy, distinguished by his fierce strength, challenged the entire Kyrgyz people to fight him, no one dared to answer except the elder Koshoy, who was inferior only in age, and not in strength. In a long duel, Koshoi baatyr won, thereby defending the honor and dignity of the Kyrgyz people. Not far from the village of At Bashy in the Naryn region, in the village of Kara Suu, there is an ancient fortification, which is called Koshoi Korgon, according to legend, it was during the life of Koshoi that a fortress was built.

Along with modern types of wrestling, the ancient sport of Kyrgyz-kurosh is still practiced in Kyrgyzstan. Thanks to the organization of the World Nomad Games, which took place in Kyrgyzstan in 2014, 2016 and 2018, Kyrgyz kurosh entered as the main type of competition where many countries took part. During a trip around Lake Issyk Kul, you can see the places where the World Nomad Games took place, namely the city of Cholpon Ata and the Kyrchyn pasture, which is located in the Semyonov Gorge.

It is important to note, that in the modern history of Kyrgyzstan there are many personalities who have demonstrated their strength and perseverance in wrestling. These include the famous Kyrgyz wrestler Kojomkul, who was distinguished by his high height (236 cm). The story goes that he, in a dispute with the buy-manap, lifted a stallion on his back and carried it to the hill where this manap was sitting. He also led an active social life, made a significant contribution to the establishment of farms in the Suusamyr valley, the construction of a school on the collective farm “March 8”. For his work he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Certificate of Honor of the country.

During a walk around the city of Bishkek, you can see a statue in honor of Kojomkul and a large print of his hand, which is located near the building of the Sports Complex.

Today, together with young guys, many girls from Kyrgyzstan are interested in wrestling and reach their goals. For example, Aisuluu Tynybekova became the world champion in freestyle wrestling, as well as Meerim Zhumanazarova and Ayperi Medet kyzy. They made a great contribution to the development of Kyrgyz sports and wrestling in general. They proved that persistence can achieve their goals and defended the honor and dignity of Kyrgyzstan.