Tajik president proposes wrestling holiday

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption President Rahmon appears to be a big fan of wrestling, horses and gardening

Tajikistan's president has suggested three new public holidays on consecutive days to honour wrestlers, horse riders and the planting of flowers.

President Emomali Rahmon's proposal was made at a Nowruz (new year) celebration in the capital Dushanbe, and would create formal holidays for the country's traditional new year activities, US-funded Radio Ozodi reports. If the idea becomes a reality, 22 March will be declared the "day of wrestlers" in Tajikistan, and the following two days will be celebrated as the "day of horse riders" and "day of flowers and planting" respectively, the Asia-Plus news website says.

According to Asia-Plus, a national wrestling tournament is being held in Dushanbe on 22 March this year, with a car being offered to the winner. Prizes for New Year horse races on 23 March include thoroughbred Tajik horses, but the capital's green-fingered citizens won't get huge prizes - they'll be getting public events on gardening instead.

This isn't the first time that Mr Rahmon has been involved in an unusual project. In October last year, he opened the National Tea House, a 43m (141ft) high building in the shape of a melon which can seat 2,000 people. Mr Rahmon has been president of Tajikistan since 1994, and appears to enjoy popular support, despite human rights in the country being described as poor.

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