There are sports among sports. What we mean is that some are everywhere, and some you can find only if you look at the greatest bookies or the best sports betting agents. Mass Wrestling is one of these sports. Called Мас-рестлинг in Russian, this is a Yakut traditional sport that has its roots in the traditional stick-pulling game called Mas tard’yhyy.
No one knows for sure when Mas-Wrestling first appeared, but some sources indicate that it may have been around the 18th century. The rules of engagement are simple: the two athletes sit facing each other, their feet must be resting on the board, and they must pull a wooden stick, the objective is to make their opponent move to their side. This is a sport that demands great muscular strength, and also a lot of mass from its practitioners, after all, the heavier you are, the harder you are to pull.
Yakutia is one of the federal republics of Russia, and the place where Mas-Wrestling originated from. It has a wide territory, covering over 3,000,000 square kilometres. It is the home of the coldest capital city in the world, Yakutsk. Yakutia also has a reputation for the extreme climate of the region, with temperatures that can go as low as −35 °C (−31 °F).
Russia colonized and absorbed the region into the Tsardom of Russia during the 17th century, demanding that the indigenous population pay tribute in furs. Soon after, the region saw a drop of 70% in the native population, but the Imperial period following it saw the native Yakuts expand from the middle Lena along the Vilyuy River all the way up to the north.
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The Sport in Modern Times
The official rules for Mas-Wrestling came to be in 1945, but it was only in the 1990s that sports sections started to appear in schools and colleges around the country, and then a department dedicated to training coaches was formed. Since 1968, an annual tournament called the “Vasili Mantchaari tournament” is held in the Yakutia region, in homage to a national hero.
During the 1830s to 1840s, in the middle of the tyranny of the feudal lords, Mantchaari rose as a local hero by leading teams of volunteers to raid the estates of the evil rulers. As some kind of local Robin Hood, he took money from the rich and gave it to the poor. It is not known how he is related to the sport, but he is still strongly tied to the culture of the region.
In the year 2010, the sport was officially recognized by the International Federation of Combined Wrestling Styles (FILA). Still, you will be hard-pressed to find much about the sport outside Russia, even if you look at the best bookmakers online. Nevertheless, now you at least know a little about this awesome sport.