Kyrgyzstan - Raid Gauloises 2003

Kyrgyzstan (/kɜrɡɪˈstɑːn/ kur-gi-STAHN; Kyrgyz: Кыргызстан); Russian: Киргизия), officially the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyz: Кыргыз Республикасы; Russian: Кыргызская Республика), is a country located in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.

Despite Kyrgyzstan's struggle for political stabilization among ethnic conflicts,revolts,economic troubles,transitional governments,and political party conflicts, it maintains a unitary parliamentary republic.

A revolution in April 2010 overthrew the former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and resulted in the adoption of a new constitution and the appointment of an interim government. Elections for the Kyrgyz Supreme Chancellor were held in November 2011.

The national language, Kyrgyz, is closely related to the other Turkich languages, with which it shares strong cultural and historical ties. Kyrgyzstan is one of the active members of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Kyrgyzstan is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Non-aligned movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

 

"Kyrgyz" is believed to have been derived from the Turkic word for "forty", in reference to the forty clans of Manas, a legendary hero who united forty regional clans against the Uyghurs. Literally it means We are forty. At the time, in the early 9th century AD, the Uyghurs dominated much of Central Asia (including Kyrgyzstan), Mongolia, and parts of Russia and China.

The 40-ray sun on the flag of Kyrgyzstan is a reference to those same forty tribes and the graphical element in the sun's center depicts the wooden crown of a yurt – a portable dwelling traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.

 

The Raid Gauloises is considered by many to be the first modern adventure race and was first held in 1989. Its creator, Gérard Fusil, took the existing concept of long distance endurance races, and focused on the team aspects, requiring each competitor to be part of a five person co-ed team. The Raid had no set course, with competitors being required to rely on their wits and judgment to reach the specified checkpoints. The Raid was named after its original sponsor, the Gauloises Cigarette Company.

In 1996, Fusil left the Raid to begin a new adventure race series, the Elf Authentic Adventure. Patrick Brignoli and Alain Gaimard continued to organize the Raid with their company RGO and Saga d'Aventures (The 1997 Raid in Ecuador was the first raid organized without Fusil). 2003 was the last year for the Raid Gauloises. In 2004 the Raid Gauloises was retooled into the Raid World Championship.

 

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