- Category: Latest
- Friday, 13 July 2012
- By Elombah.com
The Iba Mar Diop Stadium Dakar came agog on Thursday 12th July 2012 with wrestlers from 13 of the 15 ECOWAS Member States hitting the sandy arena as the 5th ECOWAS African Wrestling Tournament got under way in the Senegalese capital.
Declaring open the three-day competition in five weight categories - 66kg, 76kg, 86kg, 100kg and 120kg - as well as country teams, Senegal’s Sports Minister Elhadji Malick Gakou said ECOWAS seeks through the tournament to consolidate unity and understanding among the people of the Community.
The dual objective, he said, are to promote African traditional
wresting, which is a popular sport in Senegal and also engender
The Minister thanked ECOWAS for giving Senegal the opportunity to host
the tournament and expressed the hope that this edition would surpass
previous ones in success.
In an address of welcome on behalf of the ECOWAS Commissioner for
Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop, the Director of the
Ouagadougou-based ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Mr.
Francis Njoaguani, said the aim is to make the tournament a great
event in the community’s sporting calendar and globally, especially in
view of its rich cultural benefits.
He explained that by developing African wrestling, ECOWAS hopes to
raise participation in the sport and thereby promoting the necessary
infrastructure for its growth and also make the sport attractive to
children, youth, spectators and sponsors.
To this end, the Director said the Youth and Sports Development Centre
has continued to work with the Association of West African Wrestling
Federations (AFLAO), on the technical training of coaches and
He commended Senegal’s National Committee for the Management of
Wrestling for the remarkable efforts deployed and the mobilization of
the public and private sectors, children, the youth, men and women in
rural and urban centres towards ensuring a successful tournament,
adding that this example should be emulated by other Member States.
With the opening ceremony over, the wrestlers swung into action with
host and tournament favourites Senegal advancing to the semi-finals of
the team event, along with Niger, Nigeria and Togo.
The competition is a regional tournament organized annually by the
ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre in collaboration with
Senegal’s National Committee for the Management of Wrestling, an
agency of the sports ministry.
Wrestlers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Guinea,
Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and
Senegal are competing in this edition with Ghana and Cape Verde
The 8th Edition of the second regional annual event, the ECOWAS
Traditional Wrestling Tournament (TOLAC), organized in collaboration
with Niger Republic, took place in the nation’s capital Niamey, last
The two competitions are organized within the context of executing the
decision of regional leaders adopting African wrestling as an official
sport of the Community, and popularizing it to achieve Olympic Games
The sport has been recognized by the African Union and is one of the
events featuring in the next Francophonie Games.