Sheki to host 10th Chovgan competition

By: Amina Nazarli

The tenth Chovgan competition for the President Cup is scheduled for December 16-21at the Republican Equestrian Tourism Center of Sheki region of Azerbaijan.

This time, 22 teams representing the country’s different regions will take part at the competition.

Organized by the Culture and Tourism Ministry and supported by the Sheki City Executive Power, the competition contributes to the restoration of the ancient traditions of Azerbaijani people.

Last year the Serhedchi team took the first place, leaving a Kovser and a team from Agtstafa region behind.

Chovgan is ancient game, dating back to the middle of the first millennium A.D.. It has been very popular for centuries both in Azerbaijan and Central Asia.

The game is also the original form of the polo sporting game that dates back thousands of years. It is still played in Azerbaijan.

This ancient game has been included in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.

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.

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.