Kohima, August 11 (EMN): For the first time in the history of Naga wrestling, six wrestlers from the State have been selected to represent the country in both traditional and belt wrestling championships at the 5th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) 2017, scheduled from September 17 to 27 at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, under central Asia.
Making the announcement during a press conference held this afternoon at the office chamber of Nagaland Wrestling Association (NWA), AMK building, Kohima, the NWA officials informed that a total of 42 countries will be taking part at the 5th AIMAG. The Naga wrestlers will compete in the tournament representing the National Traditional Wrestling Federation – India (NTWFI), it was informed. The competition dates for traditional wrestling is on September 18 and 19, while the belt wrestling championship is scheduled from September 20 to 24.
All the selected six wrestlers are from the Angami and Chakhesang tribes, namely Vechita Khesoh from Yorüba village, Keduovilie Zumu from Tuophema, Surhoneyi Soho from Phek village, Visevo Zashümo from Phesama, Venuzo Dawhuo from Thenyizu and Menuosetuo Yiese from Kohima village.
Reigning NWA champion Vechita Khesoh will compete in 100 plus kg category, while his fellow Chakhesang wrestlers Surhoneyi Soho and Venuzo Dawhuo, both former open Naga wrestling champions will comepete in 94 kg and 74 kg respectively.
Angami wrestler Menuosetuo Yiese, runner-up at this year’s open Naga wrestling championship, will compete in 96 kg category, while former NASA champion and fourth position holder at the NWA tournament 2016, Keduovilie Zumu will compete in 94 kg. Veteran Angami wrestler and two-times SASA champion Visevo Zashümo will compete in 84 kg.
Out of the six wrestlers, it may be mentioned that majority of them were also part of the NWA team which took part at the national traditional wrestling championship organised by the NTWFI in Pune last year, wherein, 11 out of 13 Naga wrestlers won medals.
The wrestlers will depart with the Indian contingent on September 13 at New Delhi and will be accompanied by NWA president, Neivikuolie Nicholas Khatsü, secretary Vekhozo and vice president Mitwatei Haibwang.
The NWA officials, during the press conference, expressed their hope that all if not some of the Naga wrestlers will win medals for the country.
The NWA president Neivikuolie Khatsü, while expressing his delight that our wrestlers are taking part in an international event, he was thankful to the NTWFI for giving the NWA the opportunity to take part at the 5th AIMAG.
Khatsü also informed that, for the first time the United World Wrestling (UWW) has added belt wrestling and traditional wrestling in the official sports programme of the 5th AIMAG under the patronage of Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). Mention be made that NTWFI is an associate member of UWW, which is recognized by International Olympic Committee (IOC).
NWA secretary Vekhozo, while recalling the 25th edition anniversary celebration (50 years) in March 2016, expressed his happiness in witnessing the progress made by the association and the wrestlers in particular.
“To take part in an international event is a big achievement,” Vekhozo said expressing hope that the wrestlers will win medals for the country and at the same time bring laurels for the State and NWA.
Stating that belt wrestling would be introduced in 2020 Olympic, he said the said competition will become an event at the 2024 Olympic.
“If our performance impresses the NTWFI, we have a good chance to represent India and win medals for the country,” he added.
As for the wrestlers, they have started training at IG Stadium and also at the gym, it was informed.
Speaking on behalf of the wrestlers, Keduovilie Zumu thanked the NWA officials for the opportunity given to them. “It is for them that we have come this far,” Zumu said.
Naga wrestlers to represent India at 5th AIMAG 2017