Traditional ‘headless goat polo’ planned for Karzai inauguration

Kabul, Nov 15 (RIA Novosti) A traditional Buzkashi sport competition is scheduled here next week in honour of President Hamid Karzai’s inauguration, an official said.

The competition, which will be held Nov 19-21, consists of players on horseback who try to hold on to a headless goat as long as possible while riding full gallop to gain sympathy from the viewers.

Other players attempt to tear the goat carcass from its “owner” using practically any means. The carcass is sometimes thrown over a goal line, or slam-dunked into a vat, Hadji Rashid, head of national sport federation, said Saturday.

Hamid Karzai was declared the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential elections Nov 7, when his only challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, dropped out of the second round due to the president’s refusal to dismiss a top election official and take other action to prevent fraud.

The Buzkashi competition is typically fierce, as other players may use any force short of tripping the horse in order to thwart scoring attempts. Riders usually wear heavy clothing and head protection against other players’ whips and boots. Games can last for several days, and the winning team receives a prize, not necessarily money, as a reward for their win.