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Ssireum Going Abroad

By Kang Seung-woo
Staff Reporter

Ssireum, a traditional Korean wrestling style, is taking a big step in its efforts to spread interest in the sport around the world.

The second World Ssireum Championships are set to take place in Siauliai, Lithuania Friday, where a total of 120 wrestlers and 80 representatives and officials from 40 countries will participate in the two-day event, according to the World Ssireum Federation (WSF).

The sport has held overseas events before, but this will be the first time that an event in a championship format with the original rules will be held outside Korea.

The first championships were held in September 2008 during the Busan World TreX-Games.

The $30,000-competition will feature three categories ― the men's over 90 kilogram, the men's under 90 kilogram and the women's under 90-kilogram classes. The weight limit for men is 140 kilograms, a rule meant to limit the advantage competitors get from their size and promote technique as a deciding factor.

Korea will dispatch five wrestlers ― four men from the newly-founded Enerlife team and one for the women's event.

"Ssireum will serve as a grass-roots diplomat,'' WSF President Yoon Myung-sik said.

"We will try to develop it into a worldwide sport.''

The championships will be aired live in the three Baltic states ― Latvia, Estonia and host Lithuania ― and will also be shown on Eurochannel, which broadcasts to 59 European nations.

Ssireum has seen interest in the sport grow overseas as athletes from other martial arts have converted to it.

"Eastern Europe has high interest in ssireum, enough to ask us to give a training course,'' Cha Kyung-man, chairman of the referee committee, said.

Cha gave lectures on ssireum skills and officiating in Crimea, in the Ukraine.

"Unlike other martial arts, ssireum creates eye-catching movements because players can use their whole bodies. As a result, people are getting more interested in it.''

ksw@koreatimes.co.kr
By Kang Seung-woo
Staff Reporter

Ssireum, a traditional Korean wrestling style, is taking a big step in its efforts to spread interest in the sport around the world.

The second World Ssireum Championships are set to take place in Siauliai, Lithuania Friday, where a total of 120 wrestlers and 80 representatives and officials from 40 countries will participate in the two-day event, according to the World Ssireum Federation (WSF).

The sport has held overseas events before, but this will be the first time that an event in a championship format with the original rules will be held outside Korea.

The first championships were held in September 2008 during the Busan World TreX-Games.

The $30,000-competition will feature three categories ― the men's over 90 kilogram, the men's under 90 kilogram and the women's under 90-kilogram classes. The weight limit for men is 140 kilograms, a rule meant to limit the advantage competitors get from their size and promote technique as a deciding factor.

Korea will dispatch five wrestlers ― four men from the newly-founded Enerlife team and one for the women's event.

"Ssireum will serve as a grass-roots diplomat,'' WSF President Yoon Myung-sik said.

"We will try to develop it into a worldwide sport.''

The championships will be aired live in the three Baltic states ― Latvia, Estonia and host Lithuania ― and will also be shown on Eurochannel, which broadcasts to 59 European nations.

Ssireum has seen interest in the sport grow overseas as athletes from other martial arts have converted to it.

"Eastern Europe has high interest in ssireum, enough to ask us to give a training course,'' Cha Kyung-man, chairman of the referee committee, said.

Cha gave lectures on ssireum skills and officiating in Crimea, in the Ukraine.

"Unlike other martial arts, ssireum creates eye-catching movements because players can use their whole bodies. As a result, people are getting more interested in it.''

ksw@koreatimes.co.kr
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