Traditional Games of Abaza people were held on July 22 in the village of Psyzh, Abaza district of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. 

Esma Golandzia

VIII Games of the people of Abaza were held within the framework of the cultural and sports festival "Abaza". The International Association for Promotion of Development of the Abaza-Abkhaz Ethnos "Alashara" regularly organizes the festival. This year the competitions were held in the village of Psyzh. Ten teams took part in them, representing the Abaza villages of the KChR, the city of Cherkessk and the Republic of Abkhazia. The main motivation for the Games is the Challenge Cup, cast in bronze and covered with national symbols. It was solemnly handed over to the residents of Psyzh by the hosts of last year's tournament - representatives of the Kubin village.

The opening ceremony of the Games was attended by the Chief of Administration of the Head and Government of Karachay-Cherkessia Murat Ozov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC, President of ANO "Alashara", Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of the KChR Mussa Ekzekov, Senator, member of the Federation Council Committee on Science, Education and Culture Rimma Galushina, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Nationalities Ildar Gilmudinov, State Duma Deputy, member of the Committee on Nationalities Anastasia Udaltsova, director of  Peter the Great (Kunstkamera) Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Historical Sciences Andrey Golovnev, Member of the Parliament of Abkhazia, WAC Executive Secretary Inar Gitsba. 

"We are all not just participants, but the torchbearers of our vibrant culture. These games symbolize not only physical prowess and sporting achievements. They personify our brotherhood and the triumph of the human spirit. Together we are united not only as Abkhazians and Abaza, but also as evidence of power, diversity and beauty contained in our collective strength," Mussa Ekzekov noted, welcoming the guests, participants and spectators of the competition.

Captivating competition unfolded on several sports grounds. The games included the main team competitions: mini-football, volleyball, 100-meter run, long jump, triathlon, as well as alternative competitions in which anyone could take part: checkers, chess and others.

"I'm coming for the second time; I really like the competition, so I decided without hesitation. Our volleyball team was actively preparing for the Games. Despite the fact that, in addition to playing sports, we work and study, at any free minute we tried to run to the gym for a workout. We must keep the bar high," said Sofia Khagba, a member of the volleyball team from Abkhazia.

Among the 11 sports, there were also national ones: tug of war, climbing a pole, archery.

"Despite the blazing sun, the competitions are cool, the atmosphere here is amazing. I have a team of 35 people; all of them have the most fighting spirit. The strongest will win, and we will definitely rand and rave to become the strongest," said the captain of the team from Abkhazia, head of the Department of Youth Development and Physical Culture of the WAC Valery Berzenia.

The current sports festival has become the most massive in the history of the Games. About eight thousand spectators attended the competition. Delegations came here from Abkhazia, Italy, various regions of Russia - Kabardino-Balkaria and the Stavropol Region, the city of Moscow. Games are traditionally held as part of the "Abaza" festival, which is regularly organized by ANO Alashara.

"Since 2014, the Games have been organized by the "Alashara", headed by Mussa Ekzekov. In addition, we were helped by volunteers, women's councils, public councils, and heads of rural settlements and ordinary people who came and offered their help," said Murat Mukov, head of a separate subdivision of ANO "Alashara".

Mass festivities accompanied sports events. Participants and guests of the festival could visit exhibitions of fine and decorative arts, try national cuisine.

According to the results of the competition, the team of Inzhich-Chukun won the team first place and the cup of the Games of the people of Abaza. The second was the village of Kubina and the third is Elburgan. The Abkhazian team won the volleyball competition for the fourth time.

The baton of the sports festival was passed to the village "Apsua". After the awards ceremony, a concert was held with the participation of the stars of Abazashta. See you at the IX Games of the people of Abaza!