BW duo to WRESTLE by Senegal’s seaside

Christinah Motlhabane
CONFIDENT: Kulube back himself to win a medal, EXCITED: Basupi can't wait to get started

In a first for Botswana sport, two local Beach Wrestlers will represent the country at the African Beach Wrestling Championships in Senegal later this year.

Set for Dakar from 22 – 23 June, the daring duo of Kelebogile Basupi and Meshack Kulube sealed their spots in the Senegalese capital after starring at the ‘Beach Wrestling Match’ in Gaborone earlier this year.

Initially, the Botswana Wrestling Federation had planned to take six fighters to the continental competition but a lack of Pula power meant that was not possible.

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According to the federation’s President, Moagi Sharp, who will accompany the wrestlers to West Africa, their entire P35, 000 annual BNSC grant was chewed up by the trip.

“We are very new to beach wrestling, but we are going there to compete. A podium finish would be an amazing achievement but I will not put my wrestlers under pressure because it will be their first international competition,” said Sharp, who is also the two wrestlers’ coach.

Sharp is confident that taking part in the African Championships, now in its second edition, will help boost the sport’s profile locally.

“We want to grow as a federation and improve our tier system ranking at Botswana National Sports Council, so that our annual grant increases next year,” said Sharp, who remains hopeful the Federation can scrape together more money to send two more wrestlers.

Brimming with excitement at the thought of stepping onto the sand against some of Africa’s top beach wrestler’s, Basupi revealed she only took up the sport in 2022.

“It will be my first time going abroad and I really can’t wait. I grew up watching wrestling, I love it so much and I want to be like my favorite wrestlers: the Heart Break Kid, Shawn Michaels and John Cena. I am going to work hard to reach that level. I am happy that I am going to gain experience, skills and techniques in Senegal,” said the 37-year-old, who will wrestle in the U/70kg category.

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Her teammate, Kulube, 26, who weighs in at 80kg of pure muscle, told Voice Sport he was in the shape of his life.

Promising to bring home a medal, the toned muscleman, who is also the national team captain, declared, “I have been wrestling for six years now and know exactly what I’m capable off. I trust myself to represent the nation well!”

BEACH WRESTLING – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Beach Wrestling is a dynamic sport, full of action and throws inside a sand circle of 7 meters (23 ft) diameter.

This modern and attractive style of wrestling has its roots deep in the origins as sand wrestling was the original form of wrestling.

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The wrestler’s uniforms consist of board or tight shorts in addition to sport bras for women.

The colours are light versus dark and every country can use their national colours.

Wrestlers can score one point by forcing their opponents to the ground with any body part other than their hands and feet or by pushing their opponent out of circle bounds.

They can score 3 points by bringing their opponent down to their back.

The matches have 3-minute time limit and the first wrestler achieving 3 points wins.

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