Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Botswana wrestlers ready to rumble 

Professional or entertainment wrestling has captivated the minds and eyes of a worldwide audience, overshadowing its other half, the Olympic Wrestling.

With casts of flamboyant and larger than life characters and portrayal of great athleticism, entertainment wrestling has had its fair share of fights that have captivated the attention of fans and the sporting world. 

Thanks to the advent of entertainment wrestling such as the famed American promoted WWE, pro-wrestling has spread across different countries, and now Botswana is also ready to cash-in on the trend.

According to Botswana Wrestling Federation (BWF) president Moagi Sharp, after a decade of focusing on Olympic Wrestling, the association is now in the process of incorporating entertainment wrestling to its roster.

Through its entertainment wing, the Wrestling Entertainment Championship (WEC), BWF has registered two wrestling Shows, the ‘Power Rumble’ and ‘Claw Hammer’ earlier this year.

The long anticipated BWF’s WEC championship shows were scheduled to start earlier this year, but was pinned down by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking in an interview with this publication, Sharp explained that the federation had already created the wrestling shows calendar that was to run from January to December. 

The BWF president added that as entertainment wrestling is a contact sport, it had to delay launching its activities.

He however says once the country opens for sporting activities, the federation will resume with entertainment wrestling.

“BWF hopes that when all upcoming wrestling events resume, the federation will be hosting entertainment wrestling events only” Sharp explained.

On the BWF’s capacity to host such shows, Sharp said the federation had already developed the athletes through Olympic wrestling.

“BWF clubs have been playing amateur wrestling for 10 years as the federation’s Phase one programme. The focus was on grassroots development and Olympic wrestling. Local wrestling affiliates clubs will continue with phase one at club level,” he explained.

“The second Phase was launched on 18th June 2020 bringing focus on entertainment wrestling,” he added.

He however said as they move to entertainment wrestling, some training will have to be undertaken to help everyone transition into professional wrestling. 

Sharp who is an accredited coach, referee and the acting president of Pro-Wrestling Africa said its his mandate to train and appoint qualified officials who will officiate during all wrestling shows. 

He added that he will also be responsible for writing the storyline and assist athletes to do stunts safely during the shows.

“Entertainment wrestling is based on storylines. WCE leaders will make a script for opponents such that the officials will know the outcomes of the fight,” he explained.

“Wrestlers are ready to be signed for fights and managers waiting to be appointed. BWF will allow participants between the ages of 18 years to 50 years. BWF is looking for a sponsor to help us with running the shows. Pro-wrestling is an expensive sport because it involves a lot of people and resources,” Sharp said.

Meanwhile, in order to keep athletes active ahead of what is promising to be an interesting season, BWF announced that it will host an online wrestling and rope skipping competition to polish skills and keep wrestlers fit. 

The competition will include single rope speed 30 seconds, single rope speed endurance 180 seconds and wrestling starting position. 

Wrestling clubs from Kanye, Mahalapye, Tonota, Gabane, Francistown and Palapye Wrestling and Rope Skipping will partake in the event which is scheduled for the 26th of this month (September).

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Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.