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Traditional Sports played over the World

Here is a short list of traditional and ancient sports followed in our country and around the world and showcases history and culture of various countries. They are mainly played in rural parts of these countries.


Thang-ta (Asia) - Thang-ta is a weapon-based martial art popular among the Meiteis in Manipur. In Manipuri, ‘Thang’ means sword and ‘ta’ means spear. As its name implies, the sword and spear are the primary weapons in thang-ta. Because of Manipur’s cultural similarity, geographic proximity and ethnic ties with Myanmar, thang-ta is closely related to banshay, which is also weapon-based martial art primarily involving a sword, staff and spear.


Malla-yuddha (Asia) - Malla-yuddha is the traditional form of combat-wrestling, popular in the Indian subcontinent--India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is believed to be the origin of Kusti. This is the oldest-known contact sport in our country with its origins predating the Indo-Aryan invasions around 1500 B.C.


Buzkashi (Asia)  – Buzkashi is the national sport of Afghanistan. It is played amongst the Kyrgyz, Pashtun, Kazakh, Uzbek, Hazar, Tajik and Turk communities in Afghanistan. Players on horseback attempt to drag a goat carcass toward a goal. Traditionally, games could last for several days.




Rodeo (South America) - Rodeo is the traditional and national sport of Chile. In Chilean Rodeo, a team of two riders and two horses ride laps around an arena trying to stop a calf, pinning it against large cushions. Points are acquired depending on which part of the calf an impact is made. This sport has received a lot of criticism from Animal Right Organisations because of the way calves are treated.


Hurling (Europe) - Hurling is the most popular sport in Ireland. It is considered to be the fastest sport on grass and is a mix of baseball and hockey. The objective for players is to use an axe-shaped wooden stick called a hurley to hit a small ball called sliotar between the opponents’ goalposts, which is guarded by a goalkeeper. A player can either catch the ball and throw or hit it with the stick.


Jereed (Europe) - Jereed is a traditional Turkish outdoor sport played on horseback, in which the objective is to score points by throwing a blunt wooden javelin at opposing team’s horsemen. It was brought to Turkey in the beginning of the 11th century.


-Sayan Ganguly

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