Naga wrestling
Champion Venuzo Dawhou along with runners up, special guests, and NWA officials after winning the 13th open Naga Wrestling Championship 2021 in Kohima on Friday

Kohima: Prominent Naga wrestler Venuzo Dawhou on Friday won the 13th Open Naga Wrestling Championship held at the Kohima Local Ground.

Dawhou, 23, who is also the reigning champion of Nagaland Wrestling Association 2020, walked home with a cash amount of Rs 1,70,000 after defeating former champion Dzieselatuo KeretsĂź in the finale.

The first runner-up KeretsĂź walked home with a cash prize of Rs 1.2 lakh, while Yiese pocketed Rs 1 lakh. Kevizhakho Suokhrie secured fourth after he lost to KeretsĂź in the semi-final and went home with a cash amount of Rs 70,000.

The 13th Open Naga Wrestling Championship 2021 was organised by the Naga Wrestling Association (NWA), hosted by Chakhesang Wrestling Association and managed by the Christian Revival Churches Association.

Also read: 13th Open Naga Wrestling Champs to have weight categories

Altogether, 86 wrestlers participated in both categories– above 80 kg and 80 kg and below.

In the above 80 kg category, Venuzo Dawhou emerged as the winner and Dzieselatuo KeretsĂź secured the second position. Menuosetuo Yiese claimed third place and Atuo Tevo fourth.

For the below 80 kg category, Kevizhakho Suokhrie won the category after defeating Medozho KapĂź in the final bout. Ruokuovituo Lese and Kelhriekuolie Khawakhrie stood in the third and fourth, respectively.

It may be mentioned that two wrestlers from communities other than Tenyimi participated in the championship this time. YimkĂźm Sashi Walling from Mokokchung district and Thechamo N Murry from Wokha participated in the below 80 kg category.

Speaking during the inaugural programme, Advisor for Youth Resources and Sports, Zale Neikha, lamented that despite Nagas having many talents, it still lacks behind other states in many fields.

He said that one of the drawbacks is the absence of having a common dialect or language. He also said that Nagas don’t have a common game to be called “Naga Traditional Game” which is one reason why the state could not include any traditional game under ‘Khelo India State Centre of Excellence’ unlike the neighbouring state of Manipur.

Naga Wrestling is one of the oldest traditional games practised since time immemorial, but only three tribes–Angami, Chakhesang and Zeliang are affiliated to the NWA. Unless an effort is made to introduce wrestling to other tribes, the concept of making Wrestling game a common Naga traditional game is a far cry, the advisor added.

While appreciating the initiatives and efforts of the NWA in trying to popularise the sport, Neikha appealed to the association to visualise the prospect of bringing other tribes into the fray of Wrestling.

The advisor believed that conducting coaching camps in other districts of the state will have an impact to gather the support of other tribes, thereby making wrestling a common Naga Traditional Game a reality.

The PDA government and the Youth Resources&Sports Department would try and assist the association if the NWA undertook the coaching camps in every district for the promotion of Naga Wrestling game as a Common Naga Traditional Game, he added.

Minister for Planning and Co-ordination, Land Revenue, and Parliamentary Affairs, Neiba Kronu, said that the sport is getting popular day by day.

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