Looking ahead to the Breton Backhold Championships.

CUMBERLAND and Westmorland Wrestling may be an ancient and traditional sport in this area, but that does not mean that it has not moved into the 21st Century. The actual bouts, the throws and techniques, remain unchanged, but the frame work and ambience of the sport is in tune with modern sporting needs.

A glance at the winter programme for wrestlers illustrates the strides that wrestling has made in the last twenty years. As ever, the basis of the sport in winter is coaching the next generation on the mats, but there are extras that would have been unimaginable to previous generations. For example, the nearest that my father's generation got to international competition was to wrestle at Jedburgh Games. For the wrestlers now there are two international events to look forward to in the first months of 2005: the Breton Backhold Championships and the European Championships of the Federation des Luttes Celtiques. Last year only one of our wrestlers travelled to Carhaix for the Breton Backhold Championships.

Even with numbers diminished by a spectacular snowfall, there were still over 100 wrestlers taking part and Russell Housby came top of the pile by winning the Open Senior competition. More wrestlers have expressed interest in participating in 2005 in an event which has sections for all ages and weights, and both sexes.

The event takes place at Carhaix again on March 20, 2005. The Carhaix event is for individuals and involves only our style of wrestling. The European Championships is a more serious event with a representative team going from this area to battle against teams from Austria, Sardinia, Spain, Brittany, Scotland, and Holland

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (May 4th 2011)

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