KHUJAND, March 19, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- Some 40 riders from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will arrive in the Tajik northern Sughd province to participate in the buzkhashi competition that will take place in Qairoqqum on occasion of the Navrouz holiday.

Besides, horse races will take place at the A. Jumayev hippodrome on the same day and 65 riders from Sughd province will take place in the races.

Buzkashi (goat grabbing") is a traditional Central Asian team sport played on horseback. The steppes'' people were skilled riders who could grab a goat or calf from the ground while riding a horse at full gallop.  The goal of a player is to grab the carcass of a headless goat or calf and then get it clear of the other players and pitch it across a goal line or into a target circle or vat.

The game is known as Buzkashi in Afghanistan and Tajikistan and among Persian-speaking populations of Central Asia, while in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, the game is referred to as Kok-boru or Ulak Tartysh.  Buzkashi began as a sport of the steppes.

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 to protect themselves 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.