x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mas-wrestling world championships in Dubai

Little-known Russian sport involves very strong men go head-to-head in a tug-of-war over a stick.

DUBAI // Four Emirati policemen are to take part in the world championships of a tug-of-war-type contest called mas-wrestling this weekend.

The men, aged between 32 and 34 and from the Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah forces, will compete in the one-on-one Russian sport that involves men tugging at a stick.

The world championships will see entrants from 24 countries go head-to-head as they vie for the prize money of US$7,000 (Dh25,700).

“It is a very unique and a new sport that we are hosting for the first time,” said Col Humaid Al Ansari, director of the Sports Affairs department at Dubai Police.

“The contestants from Dubai are heavyweight champions with a powerlifting background. This sport needs a lot of power and strength.”

Participants sit across each other, prop their feet on a wooden board and tug at the wooden stick, ensuring it remains parallel to the board.

The winner is declared when one of the contestants pulls their opponent over the board, while holding on to the stick.

Mas-wrestling traces its origin to an ethnic Turkic group called Yakut in Russia, where the sport goes by the name, mas tard’yhyy.

It was recognised and registered officially in 2003 in Russia and the first open tournament was held in the US in June this year.

The Dubai event is the final round of the world championships, after the first two rounds were held in Moscow in September and St Petersburg in October.

Col Al Ansari said the UAE’s contestants have been practising hard.

“We have selected people who are into powerlifting and have trained them for the past week. It is a very simple sport but requires a lot of muscular strength. Training and technique are very important.”

The event starts at 2pm on Saturday afternoon at Mirdif City Centre mall.

pkannan@thenational.ae

Mas-wrestling demonstrated from the World of Youtube: