ASTANA – The first championship tournament of the Kazakh traditional wrestling called Kazakh kures took place under hot South African skies from Feb. 26 to March 3.
The host country plus Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Gabon and Nigeria all competed in the tournament. In total, 30 athletes in four weight categories fought for medals. South African wrestlers took home three of the four gold medals, with one going to Gabon. Fans were treated to uncompromising performances by the athletes, and education and training seminars were also held.
The tournament was organized by the federation of Kazakh kures of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The federation works to promote traditional sports and popularize it all over the world. To note, federations of Kazakh kures now work in Germany, Greece and even in Africa, and from now on not only Kazakhs win the the Kazakh kures world championships.
“To date, more than 30 countries on four continents stage Kazakh kures tournaments,” president of the federation Serik Tokeyev said earlier.
Kazakh kures is a form of wrestling in the standing position. Wrestlers can grab the uniform or belt of an opponent and use their legs to force opponents to trip, but they cannot hold an opponent’s legs. Some typical holds are similar to those used in Greco-Roman wrestling and several Olympic medalists, including Daulet Turlykhanov and Saksylik Ushkempirov, have a Kazakh kures background. The first modern kures competition was held in Almaty in 1938 as part of the national tournament of farmers.
Champions in the 60 kilogramme category were Stephen Phillips (South Africa) in first place, Tawanda Manganganga (Zimbabwe) in second place and Wilbur Vlul (South Africa) and Michael Pelonomi (Botswana) in third place..
In the 70 kilogramme category, first place went to Moussa Anafi (Zimbabwe) and second place to Abdoul Gakem Hauzer (Republic of South Africa). The 3rd place went to Dolfvander Vesshuyzer (Republic of South Africa) and Sipkho Malaz (Swaziland).
In the 90 kilogramme category, the champion was Edson Pindza (Gabon) followed by George Atoebi (Nigeria). The 3rd place went to Abubakr Petersen (South Africa) and Warren Koopman (South Africa).
First place in the above 90 kilogramme category went to Dean Pietersen (South Africa) with second place going to Victor Gvebu (Swaziland). The 3rd place went to Samuel Amigo Ramaeba (Botswana) and Kobe Ternta (South Africa).