From a goat polo game known as Kok-Boru to "intellectual games" played with a sheep's anklebones, these pictures show the traditional sports being played at the World Nomad Games.

Ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan kicked off the competition it has hosted biennially since 2014 on Monday with Turkey pledging to host the 2020 edition of the week-long traditional sport extravaganza.

Opening ceremony: World Nomad Games. Photo / TASS, Getty Images
Opening ceremony: World Nomad Games. Photo / TASS, Getty Images

The picturesque Kyrchyn gorge near the shores of the Central Asian country's Lake Issyk-Kul was awash with colour as dancers and horse riders entertained international and local guests before the real action began on Tuesday.

A woman in traditional dress performs at the World Nomad Games. Photo / Viktor Drachev, TASS, Getty Images
A woman in traditional dress performs at the World Nomad Games. Photo / Viktor Drachev, TASS, Getty Images

Kyrgyzstan has promoted the games as a way of preserving traditional sports, most of which were played by Turkic nomadic peoples over the centuries, while boosting the impoverished republic's fledgling tourism sector.

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Wife beater: A woman beats a man during a traditional Kyrgyz game of bride chasing during the World Nomad Games, Kyrgyzstan. Photo / TASS, Getty Images
Wife beater: A woman beats a man during a traditional Kyrgyz game of bride chasing during the World Nomad Games, Kyrgyzstan. Photo / TASS, Getty Images

The games feature more than 40 sports contested by hundreds of athletes from dozens of countries with Kyrgyzstan's Central Asian neighbours and Russia tending to send the largest teams.

Runaway Bride: Riders perform at a feast in, Kyrchin, at the World Nomad Games. Photo / Viktor Drachev, TASS, Getty Images
Runaway Bride: Riders perform at a feast in, Kyrchin, at the World Nomad Games. Photo / Viktor Drachev, TASS, Getty Images

Monday saw spectacles showcasing Kyrgyz culture put on for spectators after an opening ceremony on Sunday night attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev among others.

Apocalyptic horsemen: Burning riders at the opening ceremony of the World Nomad Games, Kyrgyzstan. Photo / TASS, Getty Images
Apocalyptic horsemen: Burning riders at the opening ceremony of the World Nomad Games, Kyrgyzstan. Photo / TASS, Getty Images

One traditional Turkic game that earned loud applause and whoops from spectators saw a female rider gallop past a male competitor and playfully whip him as he strained to overtake her.

Mobile way of life: young woman checks her phone at the World Nomad Games, Kyrgyzstan. Photo / TASS, Getty Images
Mobile way of life: young woman checks her phone at the World Nomad Games, Kyrgyzstan. Photo / TASS, Getty Images

The objective of the male rider in the game called Kyz Kuu is to steal a kiss from the woman rider as he overtakes her, but only a few managed it during the show Monday.

horseback archery at the World Nomad Games. Photo / Viktor Drachev, TASS, Getty Images
horseback archery at the World Nomad Games. Photo / Viktor Drachev, TASS, Getty Images