Don’t bite the sawdust in Dombresson

Don’t bite the sawdust in Dombresson
Don’t bite the sawdust in Dombresson

The green space of the Dombresson college will be the scene of an unusual sporting event: four circles of sawdust will be arranged to welcome the fighters of the 105th Neuchâtel cantonal Swiss wrestling festival, on May 18 and 19. 120 fighters from all over French-speaking Switzerland, including six federal crowns, will compete on Saturday. It is the young wrestlers who will have the honor of closing the event on Sunday. The event will be enhanced by the alphorns, the brass band, the accordion club and the Val-de-Ruz yodeler club. The prize pool, in kind as required by the regulations, will be substantial and all participants will be rewarded. The winner will leave with a one-year-old bull calf from the Simmental breed. The organizers have spared no effort to respect tradition and complete a budget of 100,000 francs: “For us, the main challenge is above all to maintain this annual festival, by ensuring its organization every three years, according to a tournus established between the three clubs in the canton,” explains Edouard Stähli, president of the Vignoble wrestling club.

For the three Neuchâtel clubs, the Cantonal Festival is a good way to showcase their sport. The Swiss wrestling tradition is not strongly anchored in the canton, but it interests some young people. Of the 160 wrestlers aged six to sixteen registered for the Dombresson festival, around thirty come from two Neuchâtel clubs, those of Vignoble and Val-de-Travers. “Fortunately today, we have young people who are very involved during training, even if they do not necessarily compete,” believes Edouard Stähli.

The 105th Neuchâtel Cantonal Wrestling Festival will also serve as a qualifying stage for the commemorative celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Swiss federation this summer in Appenzell. /mne

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