Kohima: Prominent US wrestler Rung Lian Ceu is all set to participate in the forthcoming 12th Open Naga Wrestling Meet starting from March 7 in Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland. This is for the first time that an international wrestler is going to make his debut in the indigenous sporting event.
Naga wrestling is a popular indigenous sport which sees participation only by men. The grappling sport involves two people who try to topple each other, prove their strength and claim victory. With a coloured cloth (Pfhephrie) tied around their waist, players avoid falling on the ground.
However, more than just muscle power, Naga wrestling has gained significance for its ‘purity’ and the spirit of brotherhood. In this sport, one’s opponent is called ‘khrietho-u’ which means ‘beloved friend’. The sport is meant to identify one’s strength and aid in the bonding among the players.
Briefing the media, Neivikuolie Khatsu, president, Naga Wrestling Association (NWA) revealed that the prize money for the biennial tournament has been increased by Rs 1.50 lakh, from Rs 4.60 lakh in 2017 to Rs 6.10 lakh this year.
Besides the international participation, the NWA is optimistic about receiving participants from other states of the country such as Maharashtra, Delhi and Jharkhand. C.A. Tombali, the president of the All India Traditional Wrestling & Pankration Federation, and Shailender Pathak, its general secretary, will also attend the wrestling meet.
Organised by the NWA, the Open Naga Wrestling and the NWA Championship are separate biennial events and happen in consecutive years. The Naga Wrestling Championship is held exclusively among its members, unlike the open wrestling. The three constituent units of the NWA are Angami Sports Association (ASA), Chakesang Wrestling Association (CWA) and Zeliangrong Wrestling Association (ZWA). Men from these units are considered professional wrestlers. This is a popular sport among the tribes of these three constituent associations.
The 12th edition of the Open Naga Wrestling Meet will be hosted by the Angami Sports Association (ASA) at the Kohima local ground on March 7.
The winner of the event will get prize money of Rs 2 lakh. The second and third rank holders of the event will get Rs 1.50 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively. The fourth rank holder of the event will also Rs 70,000 as prize money. The quarter finalists of the event will receive Rs 10,000 each while the pre-quarter finalists will get Rs 5,000 each as prize money.