The First International Equestrian Martial Arts Competition was held in Saryazd district, Yazd Province, hosted by the Equestrian Federation of Islamic Republic of Iran and Arg-e-Saryazd Development Company.
Twelve countries, namely Germany, France, Sweden, Finland, Poland, South Korea, Qatar, Romania, Hungry, Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran took part in the three- day competition.
A festive ceremony marked the opening of the competition. Mr. Zamani Ghomi, Governor of Yazd Province mentioned in his welcoming remarks that the competition was the first international event hosted in Yazd Province after having been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Ms. Mahta Mohegh of UNESCO, read out a message from Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESO Tehran Cluster Office. She focused on the importance of sports in creating positive change within societies and fostering ties of friendships between nations. “The power of sports goes beyond geographical boundaries, social classes, politics, and ethnic background. It has a unique way of bringing us all together around shared, universal values”, said the UNESCO message. “Traditional sports, such as equestrian martial arts, also remind us of our common history and humanity, and inspire us to build upon ancient links of friendship to create lasting peace. Equestrian martial arts are an element of intangible cultural heritage, shared by many countries along the ancient Silk Road. These sports bears witness to the ancient traditions of intercultural dialogue and exchange.”
Ms. Mohegh also referred to the 2014 Asia-Pacific Award of Distinction for Conservation of Cultural Heritage, which UNESCO attributed to Mr. Majid Saryazdi, Managing Director of the Arg-e- Saryazd Development Company, for his restoration and renovation of the Saryazd Citadel. The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards have over the past 18 years brought to light successful private sector efforts in conserving heritage buildings in the region.
She thanked Mr. Saryazdi for his ongoing efforts to conserve and safeguard the tangible and intangible heritage of the area.
The opening speeches were followed by several cultural performances. The International Equestrian Martial Arts Competition will continue until 25 November 2017.