|Abkhazia to Play Dominoes with the World|
|March 02, 2011|
By Giorgi Lomsadze
Abkhazia’s recognition by Russia has not quite led to the domino effect that the breakaway enclave hoped for, but the territory's separatist leadership still hopes that the actual game of dominoes will help put the tiny region on the world map.
After a successful run in Las Vegas last year, the suspense and drama-filled World Domino Championship will come this October to the Abkhaz capital of Sokhumi.
The de facto government of the Black Sea territory is rolling up its sleeves to host the “biggest world-class event” it has so far hosted on its largely unrecognized soil. Abkhazia's de facto president, Sergei Bagapsh, has taken the preparations under his personal control and recently assigned 20 million Russian rubles (around $700,000) to underwrite the 8th World Domino Championship.
Georgia, which strives to bring Russian-guarded Abkhazia back within its embrace, in the past effectively blocked any international events from taking place in the disputed region.
But delegations from the International, USA and Venezuelan Domino Federations nonetheless made it to Abkhazia in September last year to get acquainted with the situation on the ground.
The motivation for Venezuela's interest in Sokhumi may be clear; the country is among the four states that have recognized Abkhazia as an independent country. Reasons for the other federations' decision were less immediately clear.
At the time of his Abkhazia trip, though, National Domino Federation USA President Manuel Oquendo said that Washington’s non-recognition policy toward Abkhazia would not come in the way of the championship plans.
“We do not mix sports with politics,” Oquendo said, adding that "what is important for us is friendship and socializing."
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