Tatar National Belt Wrestling Kurash Tournament

Egor Aleev/TASS

Kurash is a folk belt-wrestling style widely popular among Turkic peoples, and the Tatars are no exception. The wrestlers, or batyr, use towels (or belts). The idea is to throw your belt around the other wrestler's waist in a bid to lift him up and throw him down on the ground. There is no use of legs in Tatar kurash, but some other nations wrestle more roughly.

The Tatar ASSR held its first kurash championship in 1940. The Federation of Tatar and Bashkir Kurash National Sports Wrestling was founded in 1968. In 2006 kurash was admitted on the programme of the Asian Games (the continental version of the Olympics).

Kazan hosted a kurash World Cup in 2010. The 2013 Summer Universiade, staged in Kazan, also included a kurash tournament. Perhaps the best occasion to watch some kurash wrestling matches is a Sabantuy folk festival, where it takes centre-stage, and the winner gets all kinds of amazing prizes: from a bighorn sheep to a car.