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Report of Establishment of Traditional Wrestling in South Africa/Africa from 2012 to present

Some of you might not be aware and others of you will know that for the last few years or so, Honbu SA has gotten involved in Traditional Wrestling. This initial involvement was due to Mr Tamboli from India suggesting that I should consider and after being invited to the Asian championships in December 2011 in India, then in April of 2012, Nasiera Abrahams, one of our younger black belt students (profiled in our last magazine) and I went to Brazil to attend the Cadets Championships and there we were exposed to some of the arts that makes up Traditional Wrestling.

This includes Kazakh Koresi, Tatar Koresh, Belt Alysh and so on.

In December of 2012, I was invited to attend the World Kazakh Koresi championships in Kazakhstan courtesy of the Kazakh Federation. Byron Wessels accompanied me and on that trip, we experienced what it is to be in cold weather. The average temperature was -40 degrees. That was the coldest I had ever experienced – not sure how the Kazakh people walk around in such cold, but we were like ice blocks just by a few minutes exposure. BUT it was fun. A totally different perspective to a country and I look forward to visiting it again.

Byron managed to obtain a third place. At that event, I met once again Mr Gintautas Vileita, the President of the FILA World Traditional Wrestling Committee. He and the WTWC was keen on hosting an event on the African Continent and it was requested that we host the 1st African Festival of FILA Traditional Wrestling. So on my return early in January, I started the ball rolling. Africa has been a challenge but with the support of the WTWC, I could invite Ashihara members from Africa. Our budget allowed us to assist them with some travelling expenses and we could also provide meals and accommodation. Sadly some countries invited like Morocco, Algeria, Libya, etc. could not make it, but hopefully with the next event we will have more present.

In total, we had 8 African countries (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Malawi, Gabon, Nigeria, Botswana, Seychelles) with the 9th arriving after the event had ended (Congo DRC). We also had representatives from 5 other countries (Lithuania, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, India, Russia) that came to assist with the weeklong training camp and other technical matters.  This included the President of the Kazakh Koresi Federation (Mr Serik Tukiyev) and senior members of Tatar Koresh (Rafil Akhmetkhanov) and Belt Alysh (Prof. Gennadii Arziutov)

The athletes were exposed to 3 wrestling styles, nl Belt Alysh, Kazakh Koresi & Tatar Koresh. Training was conducted at the Muslim Assembly Camp Site.

Delegates also received referee training with a few like Victor Gwebu & Sipho Malaza of Swaziland and Michael Poti of Botswana performing well. (Victor would go and compete in the Combat Games in St. Petersburg, Russia later in the year)

A Congress was also held under the auspices of Mr Vileita, the President of the FILA WTWC and the following people were elected to the Confederation of African Traditional Wrestling (WTWC Africa):

President                         : Hoosain Narker (South Africa)

Secretary General             : Edson Pindza (Gabon)

Treasurer                        : Laina Adrienne (Seychelles)

Technical 1 – Officials        : Michael Poti (Botswana)

Technical 2 – Events          : Sipho Malaza (Swaziland)

Technical 3 – General         : Joseph Salumu Rashid (Congo DRC), Director of Techniques

As most of the countries present were Ashihara members, it will be easier to remain in contact with them on a regular basis. All countries represented were explained the process and the Way forward and I am pleased at the time of writing, that 5 of the countries present had already started the ball rolling and will soon be seeking/gaining the recognition of their National Sports Structures.

In my capacity as the President of the African Federation, I will be establishing synergy with the various National Federations in Africa for mutual benefit.

We would like to thank the 3 Style Federations that made this possible and for Mr Vileita for expressing his confidence and trust in South Africa hosting this event.

During their visit, Mr Vileita and Mr Arziutov could meet with Mr Gert Bam, Director for Sport for the City of Cape Town.

As delegates arrived from Sunday 24 February, they were exposed to Ashihara Karate training and the various styles of wrestling. This was continued throughout the week

During the week, Mr Vileita, Arziutov and I met with the Principal, Mrs Stadler and after viewing the school hall, we opted to also hold the tournament there. Special thanks to Mrs Stadler for readily agreeing that we could use the hall.

On Friday, demonstrations and a development seminar was held at the Sid G Rule Primary School. At least 300+ learners were given a brief introduction to break falls and throws. Hopefully in future, we can present a more detailed program to the school so that all the 800+ learners can be exposed and benefit from the instruction.

The tournament itself was conducted on:

  • Fixed Belt Alysh  Men: 70kg, 80kg, 90kg, +90kg /
  • Fixed Belt Women: 60kg, 70kg, +70kg-
  • Fixed Belt Men (no legs) Tatar Koresh : 70kg, 80kg, 90kg, +90kg-
  • Free Belt Kazakh Koresi Men: 70kg, 80kg, 90kg, +90kg-

A surprise to those that competed in Kazakh Koresi was when all medal winners and referees received an envelope with a cash bonus – the smiles said it all.

Pictures of the event and other activities can be viewed on the Gallery page on this site.

Video’s of the various styles will be posted on You Tube, but search for Tatar Koresh, Kazakh Wrestling and Belt Alysh Wrestling and you can get an idea from the clips available.

Since then we have participated either as athletes or officials in/at:

i.   Universidad in Kazan, Russia in July of 2013

At the Universidad, Gakiem Hayzer qualified as a FILA – Traditional Wrestling Referee – the first person from Africa in the Traditional Wrestling component to do so.

Pictures of the event and other activities can be viewed on the Gallery page on this site.

ii      xii World Championships & Koluchstyl event in Bialystok, Poland in September 2013

Pictures of the event and other activities can be viewed on the Gallery page on this site.

iii     Sport Accord Combat Games in St. Petersburg, Russia in October of 2013

Pictures of the event and other activities can be viewed on the Gallery page on this site.

iv     iv World Championships of Kazakh Kuresi & Congress in Minsk, Belarus in December 2013

Pictures of the event and other activities can be viewed on the Gallery page on this site.

v      European Sports Festival and Congress in Liepaja, Latvia in August 2014

Pictures of the event and other activities can be viewed on the Gallery page on this site.

vi      Koluchstyl “Heart of the Earth” Awards Ceremony in Bialystok, Poland in December 2014

Pictures of the event and other activities can be viewed on the Gallery page on this site.

vii     Asian Championships for Seniors in Tehran, Iran August 2015

Pictures of the event and other activities can be viewed on the Gallery page on this site.

In Iran, we the DC of Belt Wrestling Committee met and we discussed the calendar for the remainder of this year. The next WC will be held together with the Koluchstyl event in Bialystok, Poland in October of this year. A Women’s WC might be held at the same time otherwise a few weeks later in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

AKazakh Kuresi event is planned for Shanghai, China in November and details should be forthcoming in due course. The Second African Festival is planned for April 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa.