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Wrestling is coming home to Manchester in 2002. For the version of the sport on show at the Commonwealth Games is based on a style of wrestling practised in Lancashire around the turn of the century.

In those days it was very much a traditional rough-and-tumble sport. But down the years it has been refined into the freestyle wrestling spectators will see at the Games.

Yet the origins of wrestling go back much further and, along with running competitions, it is regarded by many as the oldest sport in the world.

The first evidence of wrestling can be traced back 5,000 years to works of art and poetry in the Middle East and illustrations of wrestling techniques still practised today can be seen on Egyptian drawings dating back to 2500 BC.

Wrestling featured in the ancient Olympic Games as both a sport in its own right and the final discipline in the pentathlon. It has been part of the modern Olympic movement since its inception in 1896 and was among the events at the first Commonwealth Games in Canada in 1930.

And the list of famous people who have practised the sport is almost as impressive as its long history. Plato, Mark Antony, Henry VIII, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were all exponents and modern stars of stage and screen like Burt Lancaster, Tom Cruise and Robin Williams are also wrestlers.

In addition to the three styles of wrestling competed for internationally -- freestyle, greco-roman and women's -- there are many traditional styles practised worldwide and countries like India, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan regard wrestling as their national sport.

The basic concept of wrestling is simple. Each wrestler tries to take their opponent to the mat either directly or by throwing them. The opponent attempts to resist or counter these moves.

The ultimate aim is to 'pin' your opponent, forcing him on to his back and controlling his shoulder blades simultaneously against the mat. There is no count. The only requirement is that the referee can witness both shoulders touching the mat under control. A pin can occur in a split second. The bout finishes and the winner is declared.

The competition will be held at Manchester's impressive G-MEX Centre and the action is sure to be fast and furious. So count yourself in!

Useful Links

British Amateur Wrestling Association

*Wrestling Schedule
*Wrestling Results
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