Gongic Achiek vs. Magot Khot: Bor playfully tense ahead of half a century wrestling match on Saturday

Posted: November 19, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan, Philip Thon Aleu

By Philip Thon Aleu, Juba, South Sudan

November 18, 2016 (SSB) — Intro: (If my radio was there, this is a story that I will be running right now….enjoy)

Bor, the capital of Jonglei State is tense – albeit in a playfully and peaceful atmosphere, ahead of a wrestling game between decorated wrestlers Gongic Achiek Nai and Magot Khot Ajak. Both men hail from south and central Bor – a territories collective known as Greater Bor that include Duk. Journalist Mach Samuel Peter [MSP] is in Bor.

MSP: There is no statistic on how people live currently in Bor town but there is no doubt that the population has multiplied close to ten times over the last few days. Today (Friday), five commercial planes landed in Bor airstrip from Juba. This is the busier day as far as I know. In 2013 – before the war led to displacement of people in Bor, there were three hundred thousand people. Today, that figure could be doubled. Villagers have come. Women and men. And many people from Juba have come too. I think every Bor section, sub-section is represented today in Bor town.

PTA: And what is the atmosphere Peter? Is there anxiety among the people?

MSP: If you stand near any gathering, you will hear the names of the two lead wrestlers – Gongic and Magot. There is high expectation and both sides maintain that their son will win. With many people arriving today and yesterday, this has also placed a high pressure on the few hotels and lodges. It is now very difficult to get a space in a hotel and you have to be careful on the road too. There are many people on the few roads. They are moving between Langbaar in the east and Marol market in the west and one can be forgiven for mistaking this human traffics for a flow of river currents. And as I said before, every discussion is centering around Gongic and Magot and you can be forgiven too if you identify yourself as one of the two men. Not everyone has met them physically.

PTA: And where are the two men right now?

MSP: We know they are here in Bor. But we don’t know where precisely they are staying or lodging. There is no much media giving them attention though social media is awash with this wrestling over the last two weeks.

PTA: Peter, why is this wrestling of utmost importance and what do we know about the love for wrestling as a sport among the Bor people?

MSP: As a background Philip. Let me tell you that, fist of of all, Bor is divided into Bor, where Gongic comes from….in the south to be specific. He is from Adol clan from Kolnyang. Magot is from Twi, Ajuong clan from Paliau. So they represent two sections of the same Bor people. Wrestling is the greatest sporting hobby here and this event will down in history as one of the greatest. From the little I was able to gather in the past few days, the last wrestling between Bor and Twi giant wrestlers was in 1960s. So tomorrow, a pause of more than half century of this contest will be broken. Whoever win wil, be remembered by generations.

PTA: Talking about a win, who is going to the game in the next 10 or so hours as a favorite? And why has it taken so long….more than fifty years to organize a wrestling between Twi and Bor?

MSP: to answer your last question first, it has taken long to organize wrestling because Bor has been subjected to wars over the last fifty years. The youths are therefore not well organized to engage in sport. And to your first question on who will win, unlike other sporting events, wrestling is extremely difficult to predict. And it also depend on the person you are asking his or her opinion. Generally, it is a tight contest. In public, both sides maintain that their son will win, as I said before. But if you speak to former wrestlers in private, they will say Magot is not well experienced but he has his youthfulness as an asset. Heis estimated to 28 years old….of course we don’t exactly know how old he is. Having said that, some people from Bor and supporters of Gongic said he may loss because of his age…he is more than 30 years. But he is well experienced well muscled. Photos of him circulating on social when he was in action have being described as “scary.” But generally speaking, if you toss a coin, a draw stand out.

PTA: I will be disappointed if I were to travel to Bor and only watch a match that draws Peter. What are people there thinking about that possibility?

MSP: Well, you might be disappointed but if your favorite wrestler where to be defeated, a draw is not a bad result. But again, there is a hope that a huge celebration will ensue by mid-day on Saturday.

PTA: What sort of celebrations normally follow wrestling?

MSP: People will dance, retire to their homes, slaughter goats, cows, and drink anything….I mean soft drinks, alcohol and name it. There will be large festivities that will go on in many cities, not only Bor. Any town where there are people from Bor in South Sudan and around the world. There will be celebrations and great disappointments if there is a win.

PTA: What historical record is being set tomorrow by either Gongic or Magot in case of a win? I need a win.

MSP: As far as I know from some elders here in Bor, no wrestler from Twi ever out-competed a great a wrestler from Bor. If Magot win, he will break that record. Gongic on the other will bring a shame to his people if he loses. If he win, he will be one of the Greatest wrestlers ever known in Bor. And with cameras, Internet and huge social media following aming South Sudanese, whoever win will be famous in Greater Bor community, Jonglei State. And perhaps in South Sudan.

PTA: Peter, is there a special arrangement put in place in terms of security and how the audience will be organized at the venue tomorrow?

MSP: There is no major security threat to Bor town but of course the state government is not taking a chance. All organized forces are mobilized to provide protect to the site, the Bor Stadium in Pabial suburb. It is an open ground, not a stadium as the name suggests.

PTA: And this must be a great opportunity for State government to think about wrestling as a sport that can be developed!

MSP: Yes but there is no policy, as far as we know publicly, to develop wrestling. But there is no doubt that it is a cherished sport here.

PTA: Thanks Peter and we look forward to getting more updates throughout the game tomorrow.

That is journalist Mach Sam Peter in Bor.

Stay tune for update throughout on Saturday.

@ PTA.

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Comments
  1. Kur Wël Kur says:

    Thanks, Philip for this piece. I write after the match!

    Like

  2. […] Gongic Achiek vs. Magot Khot: Bor playfully tense ahead of half a century wrestling match on Saturd… […]

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