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Young Omani shines in freestyle wrestling

5 Jun 2024 freestyle wrestling By MOHAMMED TAHA

Anas al Riyami shines in global freestyle wrestling championship and seeks to promote the sport by working towards establishing necessary facilities for it in Oman

All of 21 now, the little lad who used to wrestle with his dad after being awestruck by the razzmatazz surrounding freestyle wrestling shows on television, has now himself entered the ring…

Anas al Riyami, who hails from Barka, has made Oman proud as the first Omani to take up freestyle wrestling as a profession and compete in international championships.

A student of University of Technology and Applied Sciences in Muscat, Anas shared his blossoming journey and achievements in the sport meant for a few. With absolutely no regrets about chasing his childhood passion, he believes freestyle wrestling is waiting to be discovered in a big way in Oman

“I started wrestling as a child in the backyard of our house after watching it on TV with my father. I realised there was more to this act than being just an entertaining show. Wrestling generates a lot of money worldwide as it is a combination of sports and entertainment which attracts people varying interests and stakes in it.”

To satisfy his childhood fantasy of someday becoming a freestyle wrestler himself, Anas said, “I began searching for the nearest wrestling academy in the Middle East and discovered the Qatar Pro Wrestling Academy. They invited me to attend classes after seeing some of the wrestling clips that I had posted online.”

Till date, Anas has participated in numerous international tournaments, including WrestleFest DXB (May 18) in Dubai, and several tournaments in Qatar since 2022.

He emphasised that wrestling requires proper qualifications and professional training, rather than merely imitating what is seen on television. Professional wrestling combines dramatic physical performance and sports competition, where wrestlers showcase exciting performances that blend high athletic skills to invoke audience interaction, he explained.

The goal of professional wrestling is to provide a fun and exciting experience for viewers, combining combat movements and dramatic stories to captivate audiences of all ages around the world, he asserted, adding that “professional wrestling can be described as a form of mass theatre.’

He further lamented that there is no Omani federation for professional freestyle wrestling. However, the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Sports grants approvals in advance before organising such gatherings and tournaments in the Sultanate of Oman.

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Nicknamed ‘Anas Rex’, Anas is abreast of the fact that a professional wrestler needs a combination of physical, technical, and personal qualities. Wrestlers require excellent strength, agility, and endurance, which involves rigorous physical and psychological endurance training, besides flexibility exercises, he said.

Formal training at a reputable wrestling school is essential to shape young wrestlers, he observed. This training includes learning basic moves, holds, falls, and in-ring psychology, including strikes, throws, and submission moves. It is crucial for everyone to understand how to execute moves safely for both, the performer and the opponent.

Anas also pointed out that wrestlers must be able to attract a fan following as well as audience attention through their personality and speaking skills on the microphone. Developing a strong personality and the ability to deliver convincing dialogues are vital. Additionally, understanding how to tell a story through a match, coordinating movements, and the importance of interacting with the audience are crucial for a successful wrestling career.

“My goal is to showcase the talent and potential of Omani youth to the world. I aspire to attract a global audience and demonstrate that young Omanis possess the passion, ability, and determination to achieve their dreams in this field, too. Through my journey, I aim to inspire others to relentlessly pursue their own dreams. I am dedicated to promoting the growth of professional wrestling in the Sultanate of Oman and to create a supportive community for wrestling fans,” he said.

Currently working on creating training programmes and organising local events in cooperation with regional and international wrestling organisations, Anas says, “My goal is to provide opportunities for talent development, aiming to elevate the sport’s level in our region. Additionally, I aspire to inspire and empower a new generation of Omani wrestlers to succeed globally. I also aim to establish an exhibition wrestling ring in Oman and establish a professional federation in the sultanate. No dream is impossible!”

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