By Laman Ismayilova
The National Equestrian Sport Festival, organized by the Azerbaijan Equestrian Federation (ARAF) with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is underway in Baku.
The sport festival opened on June 2 at Bina Equestrian Center, Trend Life reported.
Within the framework of the festival dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, several tournaments of national and international importance are held.
The first day featured horse race "The Cup of the 100th anniversary of the ADR", bringing together 24 jockeys and horses. The prize fund amounted to 15,000 manats.
At the opening day, guests were presented a gala with the participation of pop stars.
From June 5 to 9, the national horse game chovqan tournament is held. The prize fund is 50,000 manats.
On June 8, Elite Horse & Polo Club will host Heydar Aliyev Cup in show jumping. The prize fund is 34,000 manats.
From June 15 to June 17, representatives of clubs from Azerbaijan, Germany, Ireland and India will compete at the 6th Arena Polo World Cup.
Elite Horse & Polo Club, consisting of athletes of the national polo team, will represent Azerbaijan at the competition.
In Azerbaijan, chovqan is considered a national sport. In 2013, chovgan, a traditional horseback riding game on Karabakh horses, was included in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
In the history of Azerbaijan, many facts and evidence that confirm the existence of this game in ancient times can be found.
As a result of archaeological excavations conducted in the Oren-Kala area, a vessel with images of fragments of the game Chovgan was found, which indirectly confirms the existence of this game in the 11th century in the city of Beylagan (southeastern Azerbaijan).
There are two teams, consisting of five to six players each plus one odd player. Regardless of the composition of the team there is no goalkeeper. The ball can be stopped while in movement by any part of the player's body but strikes must be done only with a special club.
Duration of the game is 30 minutes (two 15-minute half-times). An amateur game lasts 20 minutes (10+10). The break-time is 10 minutes, after which the teams change the ends.
In case of a draw, extra-time follows (no more than 8 minutes) and penalty kicks may follow. If the score is still a draw, the winner is determined by drawing lots.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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