Wrestling: Rekindling Hope For Cameroon
Even though it is considered by many as a minor sport, wrestling has brought fame and glory to Cameroon in major international competitions.
Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. The sport can either be theatrical for entertainment, or genuinely competitive. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two (occasionally more) competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. There are a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional historic and modern styles. Wrestling techniques have been incorporated into other martial arts as well as military hand-to-hand combat systems.
Even though it is considered by many as a minor sport, wrestling is one of the rare sports disciplines that has brought fame and glory to Cameroon in major international competitions. In 2013, Ali Annabel won gold for Cameroon in the -75kg category. At the eighth edition of the Francophonie Games in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon finished seventh out of 21 countries winning 21 medals; five gold, seven silver and nine bronze medals.
Majority of the medals were won in wrestling. Essome Tiako grabbed the first gold medal for Cameroon in wrestling in the 58kg category and Daniele Sino won silver in the 75kg category after beating Senegal’s Safietou. Five of the nine seven bronze medals for Cameroon were won in wrestling. Gertrude Yondo won bronze in the 63kg category, Bert Etane Ngolle 86kg, Marcel Diboma 97kg, Ambasa Nya and Cedrick Nyamsi. The success came only one year after the Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio in 2016. Annabel Laure Ali, 32, almost won the sixth Olympic medal in the history of Cameroon. She lost to Russia’s Ekaterina Bukina in the fight for bronze medal in the -75kg category.
Even though the other athletes did not win medals in Rio they were able to make Cameroon proud in Abidjan. The young and talented athletes must be encouraged as wrestling is a sport that rekindles hope for Cameroon. After the Fracophonie Games the Cameroon Wrestling Federation is now focused on preparing the athletes for major challenges ahead.