Sign up for the NEWS newsletter
You have been successfully added to our newsletter.
Let our news meet your inbox
Kenya's Maasai Warriors Scrap Lion Hunt for Olympics
The Maasai Olympics were created to encourage athletic competitions to replace the traditional lion-hunting as the way to earn status.
A Maasai moran athlete has his face smeared with red ocher paint during preparations for the Maasai Olympics at the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary in southern Kenya on Dec. 13, 2014.
Scores of young Maasais representing four manyattas - a barrack for warriors aged about 16-25 - competed against each other on Saturday for prestige, bragging rights and a prized breeding bull for their manyatta.
A young Maasai warrior throws a javelin during the competition.
The Maasai Olympics were created to encourage athletic competitions to replace the traditional lion-hunting as the way that young men can earn status in their society. Young Maasai men and women competed for prizes that included medals, cash, student scholarships, a prize bull and trips to participate in the New York marathon.
Maasai athletes take their positions at the start of a race.
Famed Maasai runner David Rudisha, world record holder in the 800 meters and 2012 Olympic gold medal winner, attended the third annual Maasai games Saturday.
"I am patron of the Masaai Olympics to demonstrate the killing lions is no longer the way," said Rudisha before the competition. "We Maasai have a future as great runners. We must run - not kill the king of beasts - to earn our manhood and to win our brides in future."
A Maasai warrior makes the high jump, not in Olympic fashion but in Maasai warrior-style, a vertical jump from a standing position. Athletes must touch a high line with the top of their heads.
The events of the Maasai games were based on traditional skills: three running events of 200 meters, 800 meters and 5,000 meters; throwing a spear (javelin) for distance; throwing a club for accuracy; and the high jump.