Hundreds of fans and athletes descended on Paris over the weekend for the latest edition of the international Kurash tournament. They had gathered in the French capital for the prestigious prize of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Holding competitions in Europe is seen as key for a sport that continues to grow.
During the opening ceremony, representatives of the French Federation of Kurash underlined the human values of the ancient Uzbek discipline and its role in improving physical and mental health.
The sport aims to one day be part of the Olympic family and Komil Yusupov, the founder of modern Kurash, was quick to praise the French organisers.
"This year we have already held four international tournaments on the European continent. The main goal of holding such tournaments is to strengthen cooperation and develop Kurash. We would also like this sport to be included in the European Games programme and this is currently one of our top priorities. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers of this event," Yusupov said.
Around 60 athletes from 30 different countries took part in this year’s event and the open weight category didn’t disappoint.
As the top athletes battled it out on the Gilam, three of them stood out and gave the Parisian crowd something to cheer about thanks to some stunning moves.
Uzbekistan’s Muhammadkarim Khurramov, Serbia’s Zakro Culum, and Danov Bobon from Macedonia were the ones to watch.
After a fierce competition, Khurramov and Culum advanced to the showpiece match and despite the Serbian’s weight advantage, Khurramov dug deep to earn a late Chala for a hard-fought win.
In the women’s event, Jasmin Grabowski produced a superb display to take top honours.
The German athlete looked unstoppable throughout overpowering her Polish and French rivals in the final four. It was Grabowski’s debut in this discipline and one she will remember as a final Halal that saw her triumph in her weight category.
The winners of the competition scooped the top prize of 5000 euros, while the second and third placed runners-up won 3000 and 2000 euros respectively.
One of the world’s oldest martial arts, Kurash in Uzbek is said to mean – «reaching the goal in a just and fair way»
It’s certainly something the organisers of this burgeoning sport will be hoping for as the discipline continues to gain global popularity.