Chovgan Azerbaijan championships to start in Baku

By: Amina Nazarli

The third Chovgan Azerbaijan championships will kick off in Baku Hippodrome on October 22.

Chovgan is Azerbaijan’s national horseback game. It can be called the ancestor of the modern polo game.

Top 8 teams will participate in the championship devoted to the National Leader Heydar Aliyev.

“Sarhadchi”, “Agjabedi”, “Polad”, “Balakan”, “Agstafa”, “Agdam”, “Lachin”, “Sheki” and “Kovsar” teams will participate in the championships, organized by Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan Republic.

The total money prize of the championship which will last till October 25 is 50000 AZN.

There are two teams, consisting of five to six players each plus one odd player. If there are five players in the team, three of them act as attackers and two as fullbacks. And if there are six players, three of them act as attackers, two as fullbacks and one as a halfback.

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.

The players should wear national clothes, distinguished with several elements.

The time 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 even penalty kicks may follow. If there is still a draw, the winner is determined by drawing lots.

Chovgan dates back to the middle of the first millennium A.D. as a team game. It has been very popular for centuries both in Azerbaijan and Central Asia. Fragments of the game were portrayed from time to time in ancient miniatures, and detailed descriptions and rules of the game were also reflected in ancient manuscripts.

Chovgan game is the original form of the polo sporting game that dates back thousands of years. It is still played in Azerbaijan. It worth to be noted, that this ancient game has been included in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO during the 8th Session of UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was held in Baku on December 2-7.


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