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Greater Yirol Communities Gears Up Sport For Peace

Juba, Nov. 27 (The Nation Mirror) – Greater Yiorl communities on Thursday in Minkaman wrestle to engage on sport for peace and reconciliation. The event came against the backdrop amidst inter-communal violence in the defunct Lakes State. The former Lakes State is one of the states most affected by vicious cycle of revenge. The violence has uprooted many people from thier homes resulting into acute humanitarian needs across the country.

 wrestling festivals
South Sudanese Wrestlers, Photo Professsional Affairs

 

The sport festival brought together more than 5,000 spectators after travelling from up to six hours from Yirol and Awerial to cheer wrestling for peace competition with internally displaced person in Minkaman.

 

“We are here for promoting peace and peaceful coexistence,” said Gabriel Modol, Awerial County wrestling committee member and lead referee of the competition. “At this event you will see community, you will see love and socialization.”

 

The competition consisted of 21 matches, each lasting up to three minutes. The first wrestler to force their opponent onto the ground was declared the winner. If neither wrestler is wrestled after three minutes the match a draws. The team were divided between the “home” community of Awerial and “visitors” from Yirol East and West.


 Yirol Wrestling Manager said, “This event is important as it brings people from Yirol and Awerial together, to meet and interact in a place that allows understanding. Now when (the spectators and wrestlers) return to their homes, they will remember the people they met here. If, say, a member of this group gets in trouble in an opposing community, it doesn’t need to turn into a bigger problem. They will know each other. They will have understanding,” said Sibet Jenena.


 UNDP’s Community Security and Small Arms project supported the wrestling competition as part of its initiatives to encourage social cohesion and strengthen ties between neighboring communities.

 “The role that sports can play in bringing communities together and building peace is often underestimated,” said UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen. Adding, “This initiative is community-led, supports an area which has seen many challenges in the past few years, and we are pleased to see the competition organized well, providing the community with a reason to celebrate themselves and promoting cooperation and understanding between the groups.”


 It is first of its kind in the area since the country gained independence from Khartoum in 2011.

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