Wrestling: Mongolian Women Grapple With Tradition

Wrestling: Mongolian women grapple with tradition

BAYANCHANDMANI, Mongolia,(Pakistan Point News - APP - 2nd Augst,2016) - Mongolia's freestyle women wrestlers hope to take gold in Rio. But they are forbidden from participating in their country's own traditional grappling festivals. Women can compete in only two of the three "manly games" at the nomadic country's annual naadam celebrations -- archery and horse-riding -- and are barred from testing their takedowns against men. Wrestling is a national obsession in the country, and the contests' winners are feted as heroes, often winning big corporate sponsorships and even turning heir hip throws into political careers.

"It is easier for men to be a wrestler in Mongolia. Women have to be mentally tougher. No one is surprised when guys fight with each other," said 26-year-old Olympian Soronzonboldyn Battsetseg, a child of nomads who grew up wrestling boys on the country's grassy steppes. Her life was transformed when she won the 63kg bronze at London 2012 -- the country's first Olympic wrestling medal since 1980. Now her smile graces billboards in Ulan Bator. "When I go home, people treat me like I'm the president," the soft-spoken athlete told AFP. "Everybody recognises me."