Monday, 31 March 2014

47. Wrestling - Women's Freestyle

Event: Wrestling - Women's Freestyle
Date: 28th March 2014
Location: London Hunters Gym
Cost: Free (thank you Eric!)  
Rules: Wrestling was one of the original sports to feature in the ancient Olympics in Greece in 779BC. Despite it's history, the women's event wasn't introduced until 2004. Greco Roman Wrestling was the original style (holds allowed from the waist up), but Freestyle quickly grew in popularity due to it's greater freedoms within the rules to tackle and subdue the opponent (holds allowed on the whole body). There are four women's weight categories in Olympic competitions and matches consist of 2x three minute halves, with a 30 second interval. The matches are judged on points or a fall. A fall is when a wrestler holds their opponent down with their back pinned to the mat for at least two seconds. If there are no falls during the match, then it is judged by points; which are awarded according to the difficulty of the hold. If at any time there is more than a 10 point difference, the match is stopped and the higher scoring wrestler wins. If during the normal duration, neither wrestler scores a minimum of three points, the match goes to extra time and ends when one wrestler gets to three points. 

The Event:

Ellie 8 v 2 Sarah
Sarah: We were both a bit nervous approaching wrestling; it's a sport that we knew little about other than the theatre of WWF, and it was a tough one to track down. It's the first sport that we were unable to complete in Essex; there are no wrestling clubs in the county, and the Hunters are one of the few clubs in the South-East. Luckily when we found the Hunters, Eric was up for helping us and we spent three weeks getting a whistle-stop introduction to the holds, attacks and rules of the sport. Match night arrived, and the contest passed in a flash; it felt like we were sussing each other out in the first half, both attempting to catch the other off-guard, and I was pleased to go into half-time even on 2-2. However, it all went wrong in the second half, and as Ellie kept tripping me, I repeatedly had to return to my trusted star position so she couldn't flip me for a 'fall'! As the seconds ticked down, all I could hear was my coach shouting "We need points! We need points!" and I did everything I could to get them, but I just couldn't topple Farrow! She trounced me!  Despite my huge defeat, I had a great time with the Hunters, and enjoyed Wrestling much more than I expected. It was really interesting learning the basics of a completely new sport and chatting to the club members to get an insight to wrestling- especially with Chloe about the women's competitions.

Ellie: Wrestling; our penultimate combat sport. Violence-wise this has felt on a par with Boxing - but you get more protective gear in boxing. To pin your opponent down you need have a great deal of balance and try to use their strength and weight against them. The holds and moves could be likened to Judo but again, once in a match scenario, these moves become difficult to pull off and you just go for what you can grab hold of! My coach, Bart, suggested I attack as defending wouldn't win me any points so that's what I did. I tried to pull Sarah's legs out from under her and keep myself out of her range. After the first round I was feeling a bit more comfortable (and pleased I'd only squealed once) and the last round flew by (sort of)! This is a sport not for the faint-hearted - you have to be willing to put your body through some hefty training and have quite a laissez-faire attitude to pain ... the speed these athletes can achieve is remarkable too. 
Thanks so much to Eric Ciake, our formidable coach, and to all at Hunters for such great support! We wish you all huge success in your future events!

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