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In Tajikistan, men on horseback take to the field to display extraordinary riding ability and battle skills in a sport called Buzkashi, which literally means "goat grabbing." A precursor to the game of polo, it involves 200 riders, but instead of going after a ball, they try to get possession of a headless goat carcass and carry it to the goal while fending off the other riders.
The sport derived from shepherds, who had to fend off wolves while protecting their herds. For many Central Asians, Buzkashi is more than a sportit's a link to the past. Azam is one of the best players, and the prizes he wins, including sheep, cars, carpets and cash, help him maintain a good lifestyle for his household of 30 people. But increasingly, the success of individual riders such as Azam is becoming thwarted by competitors who form alliances.