By Fatih Erel
ISTANBUL (AA) - The Ethnosport Culture Festival continued at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Friday as thousands gathered to practice and watch the traditional sports.
"The Ethnosport Culture Festival will be held around the same time next year but we will organize the festival in May for 30 years starting from 2021," World Ethnosport Confederation President Bilal Erdogan, told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
"We give particular importance to sustain the traditional sports," Erdogan said.
Organized by the World Ethnosport Confederation, the festival is held for the fourth time with 16 nations participating, including guest country Argentina this year.
At the opening day on Thursday, the football stars including Galatasaray's Radamel Falcao, Fenerbahce's Emre Belozoglu and Vedat Muriqi also joined the festival to shoot arrows.
"l haven't shot an arrow before. It'll be exciting. The sports is not only a race but also a unifying factor," Fenerbahce striker Muriqi told reporters before shooting arrows.
The festival is set to run through Oct. 6.
Nearly 1,000 athletes compete in the festival in 12 traditional sports -- including archery, oil wrestling, belt wrestling, mounted javelin throwing, mancala and horseback archery.
The oil wrestling festivities alone last for four days with a total of 300 contenders.
The fourth Ethnosport Cultural Festival is also presenting a dazzling array of traditional cuisines from across the globe for festival-goers to savor.
The event features the cuisines of 16 countries from all around the world.
Apart from sports, children are taking part in 40 traditional children’s games and there are also 60 handicraft workshops.
Erdogan also said they planned to build a permanent facility for World Nomad Games.
The World Nomad Games have been held since 2014 and the events include traditional sports like wrestling, hunting with eagles and equestrian events.