Kazakh national games are becoming more and more popular with every year. The annual festival of national sports “The Games of the Great Steppe” aims to revive the traditions. The festival features competitions in 16 sports. Special classes and training centers have been opened across the country to train the athletes.  One of them has been opened in Kyzylorda region. The local activists are reviving the interest to “asyk atu”. 30 children are taking the course. Experienced instructors teach the schoolchildren the game rules and techniques. They have even held a competition for the newcomers. The organizers say that the main mission is to engage the young people to national cultural values. Moreover, the teachers believe that “Asyk atu” not only develops thinking abilities but also distracts from the internet addiction. The “asyk atu” game is included in the UNESCO cultural heritage list. 

RAIKHAN NAUKEYEVA, INSTRUCTOR:

 - The game strengthens vision; it is also a good training for hands, every finger, elbows. Also, the player develops mathematical and geometrical thinking, and also endurance, dexterity and coordination of movements are exercised. I hope that in the future with the help of the government or sponsors, such classes will be opened in every yard.

And recently the city has hosted the 11th international Togyzkumalak tournament. Competitors from Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and eleven regions of our country have participated in the tournament. The representatives of Afghanistan and China joined the competition for the first time.

ASSEL DALIYEVA, HONORED MASTER OF SPORTS:

The difference between this tournament and the other international competitions is that it is held in two categories. The first category covers the children less than 15 years old, the second age category is for the young people over 15. Additional tournaments are held among 15 year-old players several times a year.

Togyzkumalak is one of the most difficult two-player mancala games. It attracts attention of the whole world. This time the tournament has gathered over 200 young people.

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