Wrestling, in particular the traditional Greek-Roman from, is very popular in Finland. There, they start?
Wrestling, in particular the traditional Greek-Roman from, is very popular in Finland. There, they start early -- young boys are encouraged to take up the sport to ensure success for the country in future international competition.
SYNOPSIS: These youngsters are the future champions, and with a total of 75 Olympic medals -- 25 of them gold -- Finland wants to remain a force in international wrestling. All the country's 170 wrestling clubs have programmes for junior wrestlers many of whom take up the sport as young as four or five years old. The clubs work hard to encourage them, and the tittle wrestlers, usually take part in their first competitions in club and district matches at the age of nine or 10.
The junior wrestlers aren't too young to put everything into their bouts, and with some tough competition there are bound to be some disappointments. At the fifth Finnish championships for young boys at Turku sports hall, more than 200 participants were selected by preliminary rounds from 2,000 hopefuls. Most of the competitors are from country areas. The sport doesn't hold the same attractions for boys for the larger towns.
Pertti Ukkola, a medal winner at the Montreal Olympics, calls on his wealth of experience in the sport to instruct enthusiastic youngsters on the finer points of wrestling. These small competitors may not possess the strength and skill of experienced wrestlers -- but they make up for it with plenty of energy and enthusiasm. They are so keen in fact, that many matches end with the losers in tears.