VII Games of the people of Abaza, organized by the International Association for the Promotion of the Development of the Abaza-Abkhaz Ethnos "Alashara", were held in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic.

The annual cultural and sports festival "Abaza" was held on July 23 and 24 in the village of Kubina, Abaza district of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. The festival is regularly organized by the ANO "Alashara".

This year, the sports event was attended by teams of nine Abaza villages of the KChR (Elburgan, Kara-pago, Tapanta, Inzhich-Chukun, Krasny Vostok, Kubina, Koydan, Psyzh, Starokuvinsk) and the Stavropol Region, as well as the team of the Republic of Abkhazia.

"Do you see the cauldrons over there?"

Due to the pandemic, the festival was not held for two years before today. One of the regular guests and fans of the Abaza Games, Marina Pazova, a resident of the village of Kubina, shared that they were looking forward to the holiday here.

"We were very much looking forward to it! The last time the games were held in Elburgan, we were there too. It is not every day that they gather like this, especially when the nation is small. We couldn't miss this event. My nephews play for Kubina team. I'm rooting for everyone. I really want to visit Abkhazia, there are beautiful places, beautiful people," the woman said.

Another resident of her native village has the same mood. This is the venerable old man Ramazan Balov. He was very happy that so many people had gathered in the village for the 7th Games of the people of Abaza.

"The more people, the better. Do you see the cauldrons over there? We will welcome and receive everyone at the proper level! The competitions turn out to be interesting, athletes from all regions came to please us, to show their capabilities. We wish everyone good luck, but, what can we say, we want our team to win, of course! Best wishes to the Abkhazian team too. Time will tell who is the winner," he reasoned.

Noting the relationship between Abaza and Abkhazians, the man noted that, unlike the current situation, the generation of his parents maintained closer ties with Abkhazia.

"My elders communicated more with their brothers from Abkhazia, and the languages ​​were more similar than they are now. However, separated by a mountain, we lost our close contacts. It cannot but rejoice that the new generation, the growing youth, is again beginning to communicate closely.  Every year, our people go to Abkhazia for holidays, and from there they come to us, meetings and games are held. Well done to those who organized today's event," Ramazan Balov concluded and wished such holidays to be held more often.

To win and to make friends

On July 23, four out of eight teams passed the qualifying stage, playing volleyball and football. In their groups, the teams of Abkhazia and the village of Kubina won. It was with their game that the second day of the VII Games of the Abaza people began.

A 5th year student of the Stavropol Agrarian University Albert Kagov played for the team of the  Tapanta village

"We came only to win, to take the first place, so that next year Abaza games would be held in our village. Many left the village to study, but in the summer we come home after the session for the holidays, and just at that time the Abaza games are held. We are preparing for the games in the training camp. Everyone chooses their discipline and prepares hard to show results in it. Yesterday we played football, got acquainted with the guys from Abkhazia. I dream of going to Abkhazia," the young man shared.

The games included both the main sports team competitions (football, volleyball, 100-meter running and tug of war, long jump and triathlon, archery and pneumatics), as well as alternative competitions in which anyone could take part (checkers, darts, pillow fights and pole climbing).

Team members also competed in individual tournaments. For example, girls from the Abkhazian volleyball team also participated in long jumps, pneumatic shooting, and archery.

A volleyball player from Gudauta Sofia Khagba was at the Games of the people of Abaza in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic for the first time. She noted the beauty of the nature of the North Caucasus region.

"At home, our gaze rests on the mountains or stretches across the sea, but here there are hills and valleys around. What an expanse of nature! It is very beautiful in the village of Kubina," the girl shared her impressions.

The captain of the Abkhazian team, the coordinator of the local branches of the WAC and youth activity Valery Berzenia said that the Abkhazian players are determined only to win.

"Despite the fact that the guys are participating in many events for the first time, the mood is excellent, the spirit is as fighting as possible. The strongest will win, and we will definitely hit the roof to be the strongest. We are for friendship, but you can't lift a weight with friendship. We got up at half past six in the morning, had breakfast, it was difficult to get up, but this is required by the deed. We discussed the upcoming games, tuned in. We have already made many acquaintances during our stay in the KChR. Yesterday, on the Day of Culture of the Abaza people, we were seen with the Abkhazian flag, very friendly residents came up to meet us. The guys cheered for us at the football game. It was very nice!" Berzenia shared.

Solemn part of the competition

Representative delegations that came to the 7th Games of the Abaza people were greeted with traditional national treats: they were offered to taste mamysra (hominy with meat) and bakhsym (wheat tincture).

Riders from the village of Elburgan, in which the Abaza Games were held last time, handed over the cup to the representatives of Kubina, so that it would then be awarded to the winner of the competition.

The hosts of the opening ceremony of the games, actress of the Abaza Theater Ratkha Kunizheva and blogger, public figure of the KChR Amiran Dzugov, gave the floor to the Deputy Chairman of the People's Assembly of the KChR, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress, President of the International Association "Alashara" Mussa Ekzekov. Opening the competition, Ekzekov noted that this year they are dedicated to a significant date - the 100th anniversary of the KChR.

"We dedicate the holiday of sports, the holiday of health to the 100th anniversary of our beloved and wonderful Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, and wish it prosperity. Sport unites us, sport forges the character, the facets of each person, so that we can set ourselves any tasks and solve them. A person who tempers character in the gym, who overcomes difficulties, learns to make friends, becomes strong, confident, and such a person will definitely strive to develop in all directions. A society with such harmonious people - a healthy society - will form a special foundation for the future of our great country. I want to wish that every year we add [brothers] to our huge family, not only from our cities and villages, but also from all over the world. I congratulate you on the holiday of sports, health and unity," Ekzekov said.

He stressed that the main goal of the festival is to unite the Abaza people, popularize a healthy lifestyle, physical culture and sports. Therefore, the event is important both for individuals and for society, the state as a whole.

"The festival contributes to the formation of the best qualities in the character of each of us both through fraternal sports competitions and through immersion in our native culture," said Mussa Ekzekov.

On behalf of compatriots from Turkey, a member of the Supreme Council of the World Abaza Congress, the head of the regional branch of the WAC in Turkey Ahmet Khapat addressed the audience.

"A person who goes in for sports has a head on his shoulders, a warm heart in his chest, an inquisitive mind. Such people are with high moral values, and not only with high sports performance. I respect everyone who plays sports. The people who support them and create conditions for them to play sports deserve immense gratitude. I mean Mussa Ekzekov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC. I would like to thank him for a good deed. I wish you that the worst day in your life is the day due to bad weather, and in the series of best days, let today's wonderful day be only at the end of the list," said Ahmet Khapat in conclusion.

Rasul Kopsergenov, a young eminent sportsman, a native of the village of Kubina, was honored at the celebration.

Results and twists of the game 

The team from the village of Kubina won in the team standings - the captain of the team received the challenge cup personally from the hands of Mussa Ekzekov. The athletes from the village of Elburgan took the second place and the players from the village of Psyzh took the third one. According to the rules, the winner keeps the cup, and passes the baton for the next games to any village at his discretion. The team of Kubina passed the baton to the VIII Games of the people of Abaza to the village of Psyzh.

A game is a game, and it brings surprises. So this time too: first, Elburgan approached the final games in the status of the undisputed leader, gaining the highest number of points based on the results of all games. However in the final tug-of-war competition, the athletes of the host village took the lead, and the alignment changed dramatically in favor of Kubina.

It was on the tug-of-war that the Abkhazian team had the most fans. The compassionate local residents, as they say, "lost their nerves."

"Why don’t you feed your kids?! They are so thin. It is necessary to feed meat, and not just tangerines," said the man who supported the Abkhazian team in his hearts.

The team of Abkhazia in the team standings was almost in the end. However, during the game there was a period when the athletes took first place - according to the results of the game of women’s volleyball. The jury members noted the high level of training of the athletes.

"Always a strong team of volleyball players from Abkhazia. It is very good that a professional team comes to play, they do not have problems with rural competitions. Ours are also getting better, playing with them for more than one year," said the chief secretary of the Games, Georgy Chekalov.

He said that a total of 315 athletes participated in the games, and more than 3,000 people attended the sporting event.

"3100 to be precise. That is how many people were fed," Chekalov cited statistics on the work of the field kitchen.

The cultural and sports festival "Abaza" has been held since 2014. Representatives of different Abaza villages, teams from Abkhazia and the Stavropol Region come to the sports festival.  Competitions are always held with a big crowd of people, residents of many nearby villages of the KChR come to cheer for the participants.