National sports include zorhana, wrestling, diredövme, çalağan çardağı, çarpapag, çovgan, dedeboyu, backgammon etc. sport games. These sports have earned international status now. World championships are organized in zorhana discipline. The National Sports Association was founded in 1990. The association represents 6 national sports (national wrestling, national sports on horse back, backgammon, active games, zorhana and serim wrestling). National sports have been included in school programs since 1992. Zorhana and wrestling are members of the International Zorhana Sports Federation since 2007. It represents 52 countries. Azeri national team competes in all championships organized by the International Zorhana Sports Federation.
A team sport, Çovgan was developed in the middle of the first century BC and spread to Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq and others in time. It is demonstrated that Çovgan games are very old in Azerbaijan. Archeological excavations in Örengala also supported this fact. It was found out that the game was popular in Beylegan in the 9th century.
There is also information available in written sources about the rules of the game. This game, brought from India to England, in the 19th century, spread to USA and European countries. With the initiatives of the English, this game was included under the name polo for the first time in the second Olympic games held in Paris in 1900.
Diredövme is also a very old sport. Kids are grouped in two teams. Each team draws a circle. One team enters the circle. A belt is put under the feet of every kid. Those outside the circle try to take the belt. If those in the circle let somebody outside get in the circle by cheating, teams change places. If a kid outside the circle takes the belt, hits the kids in the circle with the belt and try to take the other belts. The team which takes all belts wins.
In old times, camel trains loaded with dried grapes moved from the East to the West and from the West to the East and acted as traditional transporter of moral values, traditions, national sports and other values. The old folk fame Galagapı (Go) is the pearl of the Eastern civilization and draws attention people all over the world today. Galagapı, dating back to ancient China, matured in Japan and spread to the world.
Galagapı (Go) was played not only with black and white stones, but with black and white dried grapes in Azerbaijan.
Black stones start the game. This fact, differently from other desktop games, leads to positioning the black stone at the heart of the opponent (close to the heart, sincerity) on the board (19x19 size). Giving a few black stones to the opponent (6 stones after 2003) balances the strength of opponents on the battle field. Then it is the whites’ turn.Opponents can put stones in any area on the board. It needs work. Strategic choices should be made in the first part of the game. Every choice has its own specific philosophical expression, logical continuance and world view. Professionals and amateurs can match in this game. The more powerful one names the other one "dedeboyu". “Dedeboyu” can put up to 9 black stones on the board. Galagapı is a strategic board game which reflects lifestyles of people and allows for keeping a balance during the game. There is a saying that Galagapı teaches to live. Putting a stone on the board is called “dov”. Opponents make dovs to each other. There are also prohibited dovs in this game. The opponent says “not kov” and recommends putting the stone on another area. It is known as the “kov” rule in all languages in the world.
According to historical sources, zorhana was systematized 700 years ago (Hicri şemsi 7th century) by Puryayi Veli (Mehmud ibn Veliyuddin). It is also emphasized that zorhana dates back further.The roof is dome and the floor is below the ground. The person should lean forward to enter. It is considered to be an act of modesty. The door opens to the narrow and low pass which leads to serdem. Serdem is a 1 or 1.5 meter high wood throne. The mentor sits on the throne, reads war poems selected from Şehname, accompanied by traditional music.
Zorhana is a square which is 4 or 5 meter long, 4 meter wide and 1 meter deep placed below the ground.
Wrestlers wrestle in the zorhana. Wrestling in Azerbaijan have authentic and unique traditions.
The musical band plays the cengi. These games are not only Oguz-Turk people but they have become dynamic and dramatic games of all people in the world. Zorhana wrestling folk games have turned into professions after Newruz celebrations. It is not unusual to present the wrestler as unbeatable to the public. Wrestler is a real character born from the people's spirit. Zorhana was under pressure during the Bolshevik revolution. Bolsheviks, who could not change the religious beliefs of people, prohibited this art.
A person is selected by draws and leans forward, and others get in line with three or four meter intervals (6 soldiers). Others jump over the back of the first person. Players repeat the following:
One - Enzeli hay enzeli.
Two - Han ekberi
Three - Horuz banladı: gu-gulu-gu!
Four - Yanbız ezerler.
Five - Tahta çıkarlar.
(The player sits on his back and asks: - Should I get on or get off?)
The first player says: - Get on or get off! Then, the game continues.
Six - El, üst, baş değmesin.
Seven - Tayel geçerler,
Eight – Papak koyarlar.
On nine, everybody gets on the back of the leaning player. They pull the ears of the person who falls. Who fails to obey the rules replaces the first player.