Gold 2021 / Editorial / sports

Kok Boru In Kyrgyzstan

  • Photographer
    Alain Schroeder
  • Prizes
    Gold in Editorial/sports, Silver in People/Culture

Kok Boru is the national sport of Kyrgyzstan. Dead Goat Polo as some refer to it looks more like cavalier rugby with a headless goat as a ball. Two teams of five fearless men on horseback try to score a point by heaving the 20-kilo body into the tai kazan (goal) at either end. Only stallions are used in this game because they are naturally anti-social and eager to fight off rivals. The players train their horses to muscle out other horses in the pack while they themselves wrestle each other to snatch the goat and gallop toward the goal, slamming into the rubber tires of the meter-high mound.