American actor Steven Seagal opened the second Kyrgyzstan World Nomad Games dressed in medieval armour and on horseback.
The games, designed to celebrate the nomadic heritage of the Central Asian nations, kicked off with a lavish opening ceremony on Saturday night (03Sep16). Forty countries are participating in 23 ethnic sports at the Issyk-Kul lake, including eagle hunting, bone throwing and mas-wrestling, a game involving two competitors attempting to wrestle control of a small stick.
The Under Siege star was the guest of honour at the event which was first held in 2014, and he rode through the sports arena wearing a traditional warrior outfit.
On his tour Seagal, who counts Vladimir Putin among his friends, has met with Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, dubbed "Europe’s last dictator" and Kyrgyzstan president, Almazbek Atambayev.
In 2013, Seagal became the face of Russian firearms manufacturer Orsis. He is also designing and developing his own line of long range rifles, Orsis by Steven Seagal.
“You guys are lucky because you have in my opinion a great president," Seagal told journalists in Bishkek on Monday. “He treated me not as a distinguished guest but more like a friend. We discussed a lot of very important matters. Personal matters, philosophical matters, spiritual matters.”
When asked by editors at The Guardian why he had met with the post-Soviet leaders, the 64-year-old answered he believed presidents Putin, Lukashenko and Atambayev were "great men".
“You don’t have to be a great man or a good man or an ethical man to be the president of a country, but the fact of the matter is in my humble opinion these presidents that God has blessed me with the honour to know are all really, really great men,” the actor told the news outlet. “Along with the blessings that God has given me to know these great people, it is my deepest desire to transcend any kind of politics, particularly those that are divisive and manipulative and untrue.”
The action hero added he was looking for “tough men, fighters, people who can do stunts on horses and beautiful women” to star in movies he planned to shoot in Kyrgyzstan in the future.