Kuresi in Kazakhstan


Inscribed in 2016 (11.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Kuresi in Kazakhstan is a type of wrestling that requires players to battle it out on foot, the objective being to get the opponent’s shoulders on the ground. It is a traditional practice where trainers would coach young boys who would then take part in local contests. These days, kuresi in Kazakhstan is a national sport practised by men and women, up to professional level. International competitions also take place, such as the annual tournament the Kazakhstan Barysy, broadcast in more than 100 countries. Transmission of kuresi in Kazakhstan occurs in sports clubs, which may also be affiliated to schools, as well as via master classes run by experienced kuresi wrestlers. The minimum age of learners can be as young as 10 and no restrictions apply concerning the background of participants. The sport of kuresi also has a place in traditional folklore in Kazakhstan. The wrestlers, known as Baluans, have been regarded as strong and courageous and depicted as such in epics, poetry and literature. The practice of kuresi teaches younger generations in Kazakhstan to respect their history and culture, and aim to be like the heroic Baluans. It also helps to build tolerance, goodwill and solidarity amongst communities.