Spectators watched from the banks of the Tamega River Friday as wrestlers from a dozen countries began their quest for prize money and national pride during the first stop of the 2019 Beach Wrestling World Series.
The Chaves event is one of four in the Beach Wrestling World Series, an annual series launched this year by United World Wrestling in support of its associated style, beach wrestling.
“This was a fun first day,” said Kamilla FAMA, who competed at 50kg for Brazil losing her first match. “I wish I would have performed better, but I love wrestling and being in the sand. This is going to get bigger every stop!
Sand and wrestlers went flying during the qualification rounds on Friday, witch dozens of wrestlers sending opponents arching towards the ground. Perhaps the highest-flying maneuver was by Dato MARSAGISHVILI (GEO) who used a wrist and underhook to toss Pedro Jacinto GARCIA PEREZ (ESP) in their session ending bout at -90kg.
Marsagishvili is a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2011 world medalist making him the most accomplished of the mat wrestlers in attendance.
Wrestling action will continue tomorrow morning at 10am with two more qualification rounds in each weight class. The medal rounds will start at 3pm local time.
The medal rounds are more significant now than in year’s past as place-winners will be awarded cash prizes based on where they finish. Gold medalist will earn 1000 CHF, silver 500 CHF, and bronze 250 CHF in each of the eight weight categories (four men, four women). There is also an additional prize of 1000 CHF for the best move of the tournament, which will be selected by the fans, athletes, and coaches at the end of the event.
In addition to money and national pride the place winners at tomorrow’s final session also earn points in qualifying for the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games held in San Diego in October. Competitors will also able to capture additional points at the next Beach Wrestling World Series stop May 10-11 in Rio de Janeiro.
Men: 70 kg, 80 kg, 90 kg, and +90kg
Women: 50 kg, 60 kg, 70 kg, and +70kg