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December 31, 2009

Elephant soccer draws crowds in Nepal

     Chitwan (Nepal): They may appear large and bulky, but during a soccer game, these elephant calves in Nepal proved nimble on their feet at the annual elephant festival. One of the highlights of the Chitwan Elephant Festival, which was recently held here was the soccer match of baby elephants -- an event which attracts locals as well as tourists. The elephants kicked around a regular-sized soccer ball under the guidance of their mahouts, dribbling and scoring, just like human soccer players. A member of the Australian team said she enjoyed the game and was very impressed with their skills. "It was good to watch, it was definitely a good small goalkeeper, it did a good job," said a participant. The elephant festival is in its sixth year and is held every year between Christmas and New Year at Sauraha, the gateway to Chitwan National Park. Other festival events included an elephant race, which took place at the weekend drawing teams from all over Nepal as well as two foreign teams from Slovakia and Australia. The top three places in the race were won by local teams and the "Champakali" team, representing Hotel Barahi of Pokhara, bagged the top prize.
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