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Goodwill tournament held in Oruzgan

Release No: UNRELEASED March 3, 2009 PRINT | E-MAIL

Joint Press Release

February 27, 2009

Release Number 20092702-01

Goodwill tournament held in Oruzgan

KABUL, Afghanistan – The game is called Do-Rah. For some, it was the chance to see a familiar game played against other villagers from across Deh Rawod. For others, it was the opportunity of a lifetime to watch a sport rarely seen by foreigners. For everyone involved, it was the opportunity to bring communities together in a way only a sports tournament can.

The villagers’ confidence in the Do-Rah games was a testament to the mind-set of the people in the area. The ANA and ANP efforts had increased the regional security in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, making the people feel comfortable enough to hold a sporting event without fear of insurgent repercussions. Civil Affairs soldiers with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, in partnership with Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police troops, hosted a Good Will Do-Rah tournament for the people of Deh Rawood District, Oruzgan Province Feb. 20.?

“The genesis for the idea was rooted in multiple interviews with the elders in the Deh Rawood area,” said a Civil Affairs team leader with CJSOTF-A. “All the elders indicated that they thought it would be a great idea to have an athletic competition.”

Everyone joined together to make the tribal elders’ idea a reality.

“Civil Affairs conducted the coordination for the setup of the games and provided the funds for the prizes and refreshments,” said the Civil Affairs team leader. “Villagers assisted with the set-up by creating the field. The ANA, ANP and a U.S. Police Mentoring Team provided security during the event.”

These elements came together and the request for participants went out across the district. According to Omar Kahn Ankalm, the district chief of police for Deh Rawood, the people were excited at the opportunity to take part.

“Four teams from different villages took part in today’s tournament,” said Ankalm. “The people are having a good time. They are happy to be playing.”

The villages of Lundyanah, Mian-do and Lublan, as well as people from the Deh Rawood bazaar, had teams that participated in the tournament, said Ankalm. The games provided a means for the people to demonstrate their abilities as well as provide a reason to bring a village together.

“Do-rah is a sport that is unique to the area, and I thought nothing would showcase the pride and competitive nature of the people more than a Do-Rah tournament,” said the Civil Affairs team leader. “At first, the game was confusing. But after the rules were explained, the games were very interesting to watch.”?The game is played inside of a large ring which acts as the out-of-bounds. In the center of the ring is a second ring, where all the action happens.

“There are two groups playing; one inside the middle ring and one outside the middle ring,” said Saed Asman Sadad, the district chief for Deh Rawood. “The goal is to hit the legs of the other team. If your group is hit too many times, you lose.”

There are four people on each team. The team outside the middle ring tries to tag the legs of the other team with their fotho (pronounced fo-tu), which is a wide, long body scarf, explained Sadad. The other group tries to kick the fotho-wielding group when they step inside the middle ring below the waist. If they are successful, then the teams change positions. The fotho-wielding group remains in their position, regardless of how many times they score hits, until one of them gets kicked.

The game is refereed by two judges who determine if the kicks and whips count. They award points subjectively. The most aggressive team receives the most points. Judges stop the game once they feel one team has had enough.

Sadad said that Do-Rah is an old game that is very popular in Deh Rawood. It was not difficult to find people who wanted to play. He estimated 1,500 people from all over the district took part in and watched the tournament.

The tournament lasted for about five hours, with the Deh Rawood bazaar team taking first place, the Mian-do team taking second, and the Lundyanah team finishing third. The three teams took home trophies, and the players from each of the teams took home medals.

With the successful turn-out and the enthusiasm by all those involved in making the tournament a reality, the possibility of future community events is being looked into, said the Civil Affairs team leader. He also said the games would not have been as successful if it were not for the support of the government representatives in the district.?

“A significant reason the event was so successful is because of the cooperation and enthusiasm that the district chief and ANP chief of police had for the event,” said the Civil Affairs team leader. “They both addressed the crowd prior to the games. Due to their efforts and the effectiveness they have had in the area, the games went off without any problems.”

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Contact information:

  • Ministry of Interior, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Directorate of Media and Public?Relations, office telephone:  93 (0) 220 1758

  • Ministry of Defense, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,?Press office telephone:  93 (0) 20 210 2742

  • US Forces Afghanistan Public Affairs Office?Tel +93 (0) 799 51 2919 or cell phone 93 (0) 707 355 965?USFOR-A-MediaRelations@afghan.swa.army.mil