Kyrgyzstan wrestler Kelsinbekov makes history, wins Hornbill International Naga Wrestling Championship

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In a historic first for the Hornbill International Naga Wrestling Championship, Kadyr Kelsinbekov, a wrestler from Kyrgyzstan, emerged victorious at the 16th edition of the prestigious tournament held Monday evening at the Chiechama Amphitheatre.

Kelsinbekov’s win marks the first time a non-Naga wrestler has claimed the coveted title since the championship’s inception 16 years ago.

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The 33-year-old Kelsinbekov, a ten-time belt wrestling champion from Kyrgyzstan, dominated the final match, defeating local favourite Huluyi D Vadeo in two straight bouts.

The atmosphere was full of excitement as Kelsinbekov, standing tall at 5.8 feet and weighing 100 kgs, demonstrated his technique and strength. His victory was met with both surprise and admiration from the crowd.

This year, the Nagaland Wrestling Association (NWA) had organised the championship for only one category.

Kelsinbekov was honoured with a cash prize of ₹ 1,20,000 and the coveted Hornbill Naga wrestling championship title, while Vadeo received ₹ 80,000 for his second-place finish. Kezhaseluo-o Pienyü and Venu Vadeo secured third and fourth place and awarded ₹ 40, 000 and ₹ 20, 000 respectively.

Naga wrestling, an age-old tradition, plays an important role in preserving Naga’s cultural heritage. The championship attracted 40 wrestlers this year, including participants from neighboring Manipur and non-wrestling Naga tribes like Sumi and Ao.

The presence of two international wrestlers from Kyrgyzstan added the international dimension to the competition.

Kelsinbekov’s historic win has not only added a new chapter to the Hornbill International Naga Wrestling Championship but also sparked conversations about the future of this traditional sport on the global stage.

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