Wrestling tournament sets new Guinness record
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, November 8,2011 - "The Miracle of Mongolian National Wrestling" competition, to be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records, was held in September after 6,002 wrestlers participated.
The massive competition was organized upon the initiation of the National Wrestling Association of Mongolia (NWAM). It started officially with the declaration of the Prime Minister of Mongolia, Sukhbaatar Batbold, in the Central Stadium of Ulaanbaatar and lasted for nine days. The competition was held in two different venues- first two round at the National stadium (outdoor) for 5 days and other 11 rounds at the Wrestling Gymnasium (indoor).
Wrestling is the most important of Mongolia's "Three Manly Games"; the historic national festival called "Naadam", which also included horse racing and archery.
Wrestlers aged 14 to 80 gathered in the capital city from all over the country to compete in the Guinness World Record for the category with the most participants in a single wrestling competition, with about a $12,000 prize for the winner.
Chimedregzen Sanjaadamba won the "The Wonder of Mongolian National Wrestling" competition and was rewarded with a special cup and MNT 15 million. Sukhbaatar Munkhbat, who won the annual Naadam festivals wrestling tournament in last July, took second place to win a prize of MNT 10 million (appr.$8,000).
But the real goal of the competition was to restore national pride after China snared the Guinness World Record in 2004 with a three-day contest involving 2,048 fighters.
"The tradition of Mongolian wrestling goes back centuries, to the Hunnu period, long before great Chinggis Khaan was around," said organiser Regjiibuu Nyamdorj, head of the NWAM. Hunnu, the first creator of the Mongolian State, founded a powerful empire in the fourth century BC to become immortal in the history of Central Asia. This year Mongolia has been commemorating the 2220th anniversary of the establishment of Mongolian Statehood and Hunnu was possibly to be one of first states in the world.
Mongolia, as a country represents only part of the historical homeland of ethnic Mongolians; many live in China's north and northwest part, Buryatia and Kalmyk in Russia.
Rule wise, Mongolian wrestling has no weight divisions; the biggest wrestlers are often the best. The wrestlers are divided into east and west sides and they begin with mentor (called zasuul) honoring the glorious titled wrestlers to each other by their unique sounding speech and wrestlers that do short eagle dances by putting hands at the shoulder of the zasuul.
Winners of each side compete for the title of a single elimination match. Wrestler wears heavy big boots (named gutal), tight unflattering pants (shuudag) and an open-fronted, long sleeved small vest across the shoulders (zodog). Winners are bestowed glorious titles depending on how many rounds they win. 10 was the number for most rounds ever in the history till this event broke it to be 13.
All titles signify strength and are given during the national Naadam festival in July. There are a variety of wrestling methods (tricks?) and some elders claim that there would be several hundred.
Aside from wrestling, Mongolians are excellent in horseback riding and archery. Mongolian Wrestling - a 7000 year old tradition.