The National Sport of Uzbekistan: Kurash

August 25, 2023

Exploring the Traditional Martial Art

About Uzbekistan

Located in Central Asia, Uzbekistan is a country known for its rich cultural heritage, historical architecture, and delicious cuisine. Aside from its vibrant traditions, Uzbekistan is also home to a unique and captivating national sport called Kurash.

Origins of Kurash

Kurash is a traditional martial art that has been practiced in Central Asia for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to ancient times when warriors used the techniques as a means of combat and self-defense. Throughout history, Kurash has become deeply intertwined with Uzbek culture and continues to be celebrated as a national treasure.

Rules and Gameplay

Kurash is a competitive sport that involves two individuals engaging in a wrestling match. The objective is to either throw your opponent onto their back or force them out of the designated wrestling area. Matches are conducted on a large circular mat, and participants wear traditional costumes which consist of a loose jacket (kurtka) and trousers (kuylak).

Points are earned through various techniques such as throws, trips, and holds. The sport emphasizes balance, agility, and quick reflexes. Kurash matches may vary in duration, with some lasting for a few intense minutes, while others can endure for several rounds.

Kurash in Uzbek Culture

Kurash reflects the deep-rooted traditions and values of Uzbekistan. It is not only a form of physical activity but also promotes traditional customs, unity, and respect among participants. The sport is an important aspect of Uzbek festivals and national celebrations, where tournaments and exhibitions are held to showcase the skills and athleticism of its practitioners.

Kurash on the Global Stage

While Kurash historically belonged to Central Asia, it has gained recognition worldwide. The International Kurash Association (IKA) was established in 1998 to promote and develop the sport internationally. Today, many countries actively participate in Kurash competitions, and it has even gained status as an optional discipline in the Asian Games.

Uzbekistan, being the birthplace of Kurash, has excelled on the global stage and produced numerous talented athletes who have achieved remarkable success in international tournaments.


Kurash stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. As a traditional martial art, it continues to play an integral role in the country's identity. The sport not only showcases the physical prowess and agility of its participants but also highlights the values of discipline, respect, and unity.

Whether you're an avid sports enthusiast or simply fascinated by diverse cultures, exploring the national sport of Uzbekistan is an enriching experience that offers unique insights into the history and traditions of this fascinating Central Asian nation.

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