Four European title holders are to take part in the Scottish backhold wrestling championships at next weekend’s Bute Highland Games.
The newly-expanded wrestling competitions at the Games on Saturday, August 24, will feature a quartet of winners from the 2013 Celtic Wrestling tournament held at Reykjavik in the spring.
Three of the four are from Iceland, and the fourth is Scotland’s Frazer Hirsch, who won the backhold European under 81 kilogram title in Reykjavik and the special award for best backhold wrestler of the tournament.
As well as the Scottish and Icelandic competitors, a team of eight wrestlers from Brittany are also entering, and are expecting to put in a strong challenge to take home the beautiful T.B. McMillan Memorial Salver, the trophy for the winner of the British under 11st 7lb (73 kilo) championship - though the Scots and Icelander Magnus Karl Asmundsson will be doing there best to deny the Breton ambitions.
Scotland is expected to dominate the under 14st 7lb (93-kilo) competition, with the experienced Frazer Hirsch having to head off the challenge from Ryan Dolan who has weight, height and youthful enthusiasm on his side.
In competitions this year they have both had victories against each other and the outcome is unpredictable - both train at Carnoustie Backhold Wrestling Club, but there will be no team orders or ground given in Rothesay.
New for 2013 is the introduction of the Bute Open Championship – this is open to all and is for all weights. Iceland and Brittany are fielding experienced heavy weights and all have the weight advantage over the Scots but are not used to competing on grass.
This is expected to be a tough close fought competition, and whoever is the first Bute Open Champion will have had to work hard for the title.
The Highland Games is also introducing two female only categories (under 10st 7lb and under 12st 7lb). Whilst females can enter the main competition, they tend to be at a disadvantage, and experience at other games has found these female only competitions to be more equitable and entertaining.
The competitions are run under the auspices of The Scottish Wrestling Bond, and entries are permitted on the day.
Keep an eye on this site for more previews of next Saturday’s Bute Highland Games over the next few days!