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Kazan Says Goodbye to BRICS Games With Ancient Tatar Festival of Sabantuy

Over 1,000 athletes from 93 countries arrived in Kazan, republic of Tatarstan this month for the BRICS Sports Games.

The annual event organized by members of the economic bloc made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates, is seen as an alternate version of the Olympic Games, which Russia has been banned from due to doping violations.

Russian athletes topped the charts with 507 total medals, followed by Belarus (247), Uzbekistan (114) and China (62).

Athletes bid farewell to Tatarstan at the closing ceremony on Sunday as the region's Tatar and Bashkir communities marked the Sabantuy summer festival. Meaning "plow's feast," Sabantui was a farmers' holiday associated with sowing before it became a national festival during the Soviet period.

Today, Sabantuy is celebrated with theatrical performances, folk music, wrestling and dancing. Some BRICS visitors participated in traditional games and tried local delicacies.

A Brazilian soccer team manager even said, "Sabantui is like a Brazilian carnival."