By Thon Philip Aleu
October 30, 2010 (BOR) – The first high profile wrestling match between Jonglei states’s Dinka Bor tribe resulted into a landslide victory for wrestlers from Bor county as they beat Twic East county’s team 11—0 on Friday.
- Wrestler, Mayen Reech Akuak, at a previous match in Bor, Jonglei state, South Sudan (ST/FILE)
In South Sudan traditional wrestling is predominantly practice by the Dinka Bor ethnic group in Jonglei state.
However, it is also common in Lakes state among the Aliap of Awerial county and Atuor who live in Yirol county.
The Mundari tribe in Terekeka county of Central Equatoria also have a wrestling culture.
All of the tribes that practice wrestling keep cattle as it used to be common between youths from different tribes at cattle camps.
But the organizers of Friday’s competition in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, say they aim to lift the sport beyond social pride.
“Firstly, it will create jobs to the talented [….] wrestlers who traditionally do it for the social pride and fame with no material benefit,” said Moses Kur Akech, a member of organizing committee in an e-mail sent to Sudan Tribune.
- Members of the Bor county wrestling team celebrate an earlier victory in Bor town, Jonglei state, South Sudan (ST/FILE)
In the match-up in Juba game Bor county won the first two fights with Majok Jok-rir (Bor) beating Deng Agok (Twic East) and Ajang Garang (Bor) winning against Athiei Chol (Twic East).
In the a highly charged start the two Twic East strongmen were both beaten in less than a minute.
The third match nearly resurrected hope for Twic East but the wrestler had to be content with a draw.
From then on Bor won nine of the remaining 12 fights, with Twic East managing only three more draws.
Organisers estimate that over a thousand people paid entry fees of between SDG 15 – SDG 100 ($6 - $42) to watch the match at Juba stadium.
Back in Bor town, supporters who did not have the chance to travel to Juba for the match gathered in groups and followed the game by mobile phone.
- Mayen Reech Akuak, one of the victorious Bor country team, celebrates winning a fight in Bor town prior to the match against Twic East county in South Sudan’s capital Juba (ST/FILE)
Celebrations ensued when the wrestling was declared over. Bar and restaurants owners will long remember the day for all the customers they received.
The Bor county wrestlers who shined in win include Mayen Reech Akuak, Alier Majur Awuang, Thon Kon Mabiei, Deng Mawut Arok, Ajith Nyakuoi, Amol Majak Amol, Akau Kuol Nyok and Dot Thok among others.
The fourth drawn match was contentious as members of Bor county claim it should have been awarded to them as a win.
Organizers say the winning team will receive a prize valued at 30 cows.
The main financial challenge to maintaining traditional wrestling, is having to stage the event in Juba as there is no stadium in Bor with the capacity to host the event.