A Review of the “Aliap versus Bor Communities” Friendly Wrestling Match in Bor, Jonglei State

Posted: July 21, 2019 by aljokd in Junub Sudan, Malith Alier, Socio-Cultural, Wrestling
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By Malith Alier, Sydney, Australia

Sunday, 21 July, 2019 (PW) — Nothing generates energy and passion among the above communities than traditional contact wrestling. Wrestling among these communities is the number one sport that may defy the onslaught of western games like football or tennis. It’s even continued to be imitated by people who migrated to the western hemisphere decades ago. It’s supposedly one way of keeping attached to the motherland.

In this review, I will focus on the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of traditional wrestling not only the one of yesterday between Bor and Aliap but also what has been going on in the game since time immemorial.

This undying traditional wrestling is a game with minimal rules and regulations at best. It’s a game whereby no elaborate body sets the minimum standards and this is where it’s pervasive to participate in it with confidence. The concept of time is nonexistent in the sport.

Though some cosmetic changes are introduced in to the game, they still lack behind compared to other sport in the modern time. It has been stipulated that the wrestlers are allocated time as little as three minutes to determine the outcome. This is not respected by those involved as was the case yesterday. The main wrestlers took more than ten minutes to conclude the match.

A pathetic show like that is intolerable. Did anyone sanction the participants to go back to base support and waste people’s time? This shows that it’s not the umpire who rules but it’s the other way round. Compare the first wrestlers and the second ones. While the first ones took more time the second one took less than 1 minute though after a long wait to know the unknown opponents.

It’s incompatible to claim to allocate time to individual match with unknown time to the overall game. Three minutes for couple of wrestlers but undetermined time for the overall game goes into five, six or more hours.

Another issue is the potential conflict. On occasions, the sport is marred by communal conflict. This may be due to the level of organisation which is exacerbated by lack of clear rules and regulations. There are no specified sanctions against the ones who cause to start such conflict. Virtually, anyone can get away with it. They may be protected by their own side which may anger the other side.

The involvement of gun wielding security personnel has become another issue. Normal sport order and security is handled by plain cloth security apparatus say for example security guards. To make the matters worst, the gun holding police has the licence to use sticks to whip innocent spectators! What if they hit and gouge your essential eye out in the madness?

Who can compensate you? Not only the eyes but other parts of your precious body may be hurt for no good reason or explanation. The evidence about the illegal beating came from the cameraman who relayed the game on Facebook and other media. He said that, the police were beating people at random and he was unable to do his job properly.

It was reported that the main wrestler, Aluel-luel sustained a foot or ankle injury. This can cause a significant personal lost not only to him but also to family and relatives alike. Who is responsible for such occurrences going into the future? Is it individual responsibility or the organisers responsibility? I am sure if any injured participant take the organisers to courts for damages they will win and the organisers will be in to pay thousands of Pounds which they don’t have to the claimant.

On the light side, the traditional wrestling is sometimes dabbed as for peace. No doubt about that. In any sport there are benefits not only to participants but also to spectators. Sports break down barriers. People got to know each other going into the future. Future interactions will become easier to organised based on past experiences.

This sport could generate revenue to organisers and participants if well organised. The hundreds of thousands of spectators who swarm the sports venue can pay up for entertainment which is otherwise virtually free just like in the past.

I think those who traveled from Lakes State to Jonglei State have pumped enormous revenue to the hosting state economy. They rented hotels, bought meals and drinks. They used local transport system such as boda boda to fill the pockets of operators. The traders became richer overnight. It is a positive thing to the economy.

In sum, traditional wrestling needs reorganisation, the sooner the better. As South Sudanese move to towns, they need to use the concept of time to organise sports otherwise hitherto not measured in seconds or minutes.

Wrestling urgently needs specific rules and regulations in order to modernise. Certain laws that protect the participants who may sustain injury need to be instituted by the state government. The organisers should have insurance schemes in place for that.

Wrestling as the sport has potential benefits to all. It breaks down barriers. It can generate revenue to local economy.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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