Kohima, Feb.11 : Many sports lovers in Nagaland had a gala time here recently, attending a two-day inter-village wrestling championship held in Khonoma Village, 30 kilometers from Kohima, the state capital.
The wrestling championship is a regular event since 1961 here. It is being organized to promote peace and unity among the people.
Wrestling has been a sport, popular among the Angami Nagas. But nowadays wrestling championship is not just limited to villages, it is also organised at State level in which different tribes participate. Angami area is divided into southern, western northern and Chakhrou area.
At least 150 players from different villages participated this year's wrestling competition at Khonoma Village.
Naga wrestling is distinct from the generally known wrestling-style.
In ancient times, wrestling bouts were a show of physical prowess. But today it is a means of promoting talents of youngsters for the State and national level championships.
Nicholas, General Secretary, Western Angami Sports Association (WASA), said: "Naga style is very different from the National free-style wrestling. The national free-style, as we know, is without any belt. If a wrestler is felled and rises again, he earns points. But in the Naga style, while you can score points, you can win only when your opponent falls."
Anguile Meyase, one of the participants, said: "The wrestling match revives our culture, something that our forefathers were very proud of. It's a sport, where people of all age come together; the young and old, participating with verve."
Kesaile Meru, a former wrestler, said: "Through these wrestling bouts, friendship is fostered."
Of the 16 tribes of Nagaland, the championship at Khonoma Village witnessed the participation of Angamis, Chakhesang, Rengma and Zeilang tribes, who are collectively known as 'Tenyimias'.
Theses sporting events provide a reprieve for Nagas, from their routine life.
With the State witnessing relative peace over the last ten years, traditional sports and cultural programmes are organized frequently. People here today understand the importance of peace. By Vibou GangulyANI)