Barbados beach wrestling fans received more than their fair share of exciting action at the Regional Beach Wrestling Championships hosted in the second edition of the 2017 Barbados Olympic Association Invitational Independence Games multi-sport beach games held at the Pirates Cove venue last weekend
The event brought out the best beach wrestlers in the region with the likes of Leandro Dongo of Suriname, 2016 beach wrestling champion Renaldo Stuart of Barbados, Israel Yearwood of Cuba, world No.5 ranked sambo athlete Martin Joseph of Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados 2017 Pan American Freestyle hopeful Jerome Hoyte.
The primary school divisions showed keen and skillful aptitude among the wrestling pandas as last year’s wondergirl Rebecca Williams had a run for her money with her Young Dragons opponent Shamiyah Forde who took Williams down with a single leg move to gain an early two point lead. However, Williams’ game plan which seemed to lack her usual tactical Cuban-styled approach came back to equalize the score at 2-2 and take the win with a one-point takedown to win 3-2 in the two-minute regulation time.
Barbados’ under-18 wrestler Jalen Stoute had a tough run when he came up against the Surinamese Dutch-styled duo Nawien Bepat and Stephen Brunings. Bepat took the gold over his Surinamese teammate while Stoute had to settle for the bronze.
In the men’s under-80kg division Widesh Ramcharan emerged winner from Pool 1 after two tough battles to eliminate his opponents while his team colleague Micha Williams was victorious in Pool 2. In the playoffs of the under 80Kg Ramcharan defeated Williams by a 3-2 margin to become the 2017 under-80kg champion.
The men’s over-80kg division proved to be the toughest and most competitive of the day with a pool of elite athletes from Barbados, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.
Trinidad and Tobago’s world ranked Sambo athlete Joseph won Pool 2 by utilizing some superb takedowns of his opponents. He then came up against Pool 1 winner – the 260 pound Dongo of Suriname. Joseph initially manhandled the much bigger opponent but was eventually defeated by Dongo 3-2 with some questionable officiating.
The exhausted Dongo then rose to the occasion to defeat his fellow Surinamese Ramcharan by 3 -2 to take the title belt and become the 2017 Beast of the Beach Grand Champion.