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The greatest sports you’ve never heard of! Russia hosts first international games for national and non-Olympic disciplines in Ufa

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The first international games for national and non-Olympic sports – dubbed the ‘Towards Eurasian Games’ – were held in the city of Ufa from August 24-27.

Footage shows athletes competing in unique disciplines such as arm-wrestling, kettlebell athletics, bar pull-ups, and tug-of-war – as well as the traditional gorodki and mas-wrestling.

President of Russian Air Power Athletics Federation – a form of gymnastics using bars and poles – Pavel Smoliakov said the games were the first international competition of their kind to be held in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries.

« [Air power athletics] is a new sport in itself, and it is now very actively developing in all these countries. Roughly speaking, we are now giving this movement a new impetus, » said Smoliakov.

Executive Director of Russian Gorodki Sports Federation Alexei Vatagin shared that the gorodki teams were mostly comprised of adults, but it was important to attract the younger generation as well.

« We would like young people to get involved, but mostly veterans who are already of pre-retirement or retirement age. We will do our best, we will work on it, » he said.

The games were organised by the Russian Ministry of Sports, the Government of the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly International Non-Governmental Organisations Union and the Committee of National and Non-Olympic Sports of Russia.

The Eurasian Peoples’ Assembly noted that the event for national and non-Olympic sports will become ‘a new format of communication between the peoples of Eurasia’. The first Eurasian Games itself was announced earlier this year, with dozens of countries set to take part.

Mas-wrestling (from Yakut ‘mas’ – ‘wooden stick’) is a traditional kind of wrestling originating from the Sakha (Yakut) people, which involves two athletes pulling on a wooden stick in a sitting position with their feet planted on a wooden board placed between them.

Gorodki (‘towns’) is a medieval Russian traditional game that involves throwing a wooden bat at various figures built from small wooden cylinders in order to knock them out of the playing area.

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