Tournament in Kheer Shaalgan in Sanaga

The Ethnosport Federation of Buryatia held a republican tournament in spinal bone breaking, named kheer shaalgan, in the Sanaga village of the Zakamensky district.

Buryats carefully preserved kheer shaalgan, their primordial play, and in 2013 they also began to hold competitions, which in 2014 were included in the program of the republican Naadan-Surkharban holiday. The winner was a team from the Zakamensky district, comprising Bair Zhamyanov, Beligto Nohorov and Aleksandr Bazarov, who were awarded the title of Abarga (*“large”, “powerful” in Buryat).

Inspired by their success, the winners decided to hold the first republican tournament in their native Sanaga village of the Zakamensky district. With the support of sponsors and the administration of the village, the main prize – a tractor – was provided for the winning team.

The first republican tournament was of great interest and was attended by 30 competing teams: 19 of them from the Zakamensky district, where the event was held, and the remaining 11 teams from the Kizhinginsky, Kurumkansky, Oka and Tunka regions, as well as the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Republic of Tyva.

Aleksandr Bazarov from the “Mountain Zakamna” team became the winner, and received an award of 20 thousand rubles. Second place was won by Zorigto Gabanov from the Oka region, and third place – by Bair Dorzhiyev from the Tsagan-Morin village of the Zakamensky district.

The age range of the participants was wide, as in kheer shaalgan everyone is equal, and everyone has to break as many spinal bones as possible. The youngest participant was 13-year-old Damdin Sambuyev of Tunka region, while the oldest one was 60-year-old Ilya Norboyev of Sanaga.

The tournament was spectacular and really massive, according to both the number of participants and the interest of viewers. Local journalists reported that people of almost all rural Sanaga came to their cultural centre. The hall was full from 10 a.m. until late at night, with the audience sitting not only in the hall, but also right on the stage.

According to Aleksey Gyrgenov, President of the Ethnosport Federation of Buryatia (see photo below – left), the participants, inspired by the success, are anxious to offer their districts for the next tournament.