Tons of Fun
The main draw of the Nadaam Festival is the wrestling tournament, which in Ulan Bator this year will feature 1024 participants over three days. Of these, roughly half seem to be weighing in above 250 lbs. while the rest aren’t far off. Wrestling in Mongolia is the ultimate showcase of size and athleticism. These guys aren’t just the biggest guys in the country, they are some of the best athletes.
Winning is simple and rules are few; if you touch anything other than your hands and feet to the ground, you lose. Matches are wrestled in a field and can continue without action for up to 15 minutes, when the judge monitoring the action can put the competitors into a series of clinches to force action. The tournament is held all at once, so the main competition area looks like a battlefield with two massive forces jogging towards each other. I’m not certain, but I imagine the ground rumbles.
The following video features some of the local competitors who came into practice last Thursday as part of their Nadaam preparation. They seem serious enough, though all across Mongolia right now there are hundreds of 20-something giants doing nothing but training for this competition while wearing their outfits and receiving coaching instructions. They eat, sleep and wrestle. It’s the life.