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South Sudan Wrestling: Jonglei state 5—5 Lakes state

December 11, 2010 (JUBA) – A traditional wrestling match between Jonglei and Lakes states ended with a draw, both teams securing 5 wins and 5 draws on Saturday in a packed Juba stadium, in the capital of South Sudan.

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Bor wrestler, Deng Mawel, celebrates with relatives in Juba stadium on after defeating a rival. Dec. 11, 2010 (ST)

Majok Jok-rir, the leader of Bor wrestlers that represent Jonglei state, defeated Maker Nyirou from Aliap of Lakes state.

Lakes state won the next match before Mayen Reech from Jonglei beat Awuou-dhol from Lakes state, tilted the game to ‘Referendum Stars’, as Bor county wrestlers are locally known only to balanced in the game. But despite the early lead the game ended in a draw.

Traditional wrestling, which used to be practiced just in cattle camps practice between young men has begun to be professionalized in south Sudan in the last few months. On October 30 Bor county beat Twic East county in Jonglei state in a match in Juba. The game is common in Southern Sudan tribes including the Dinka and Mundari.

Both keep cattle and it the game used to be between youth in cattle camps mainly for fame and pride. But the organizers of the recent matches, the Southern Sudan Wrestling Entertainment (SSWE), a private body, are awarding wrestlers with up to 1,000 Sudanese Pounds in prize money.

The result of Saturday’s game means that Lakes state is knocked out of the competition. Jonglei state’s team, who have not lost since the tournament began, will now face Central Equatoria state wrestlers on December 18.

Jonglei defeated Central Equatoria by 6-5 earlier in the competition, whereas Lakes state lost 6-1 to the same opposition.

Supporters at Juba stadium, danced, sang songs and clapped during the event.

The wrestlers entertained the crowd by raising their arms to imitate bull horns. Other wrestlers jumped up and down as fans cheered them stadium.

As the south’s referendum on independence approaches, the traditional games also serve as an arena for discussion on the January 2011 exercise, where southerners will decide either to form their own country in accordance to 2005 peace accord.

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Mundari youth celebrates after wrestling match in Juba. Nov. 2010 (Photo: Ayuen Panchol, Sudan Radio Services)

(ST)