[P]enrith Town Council are to sponsor a civic reception on 6th April to welcome wrestlers from seven countries to Penrith, to take part in the ‘2018 European Espoirs Championships, which is being hosted by the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association (CWWA).’
Seven teams of 16-20 year-olds from Scotland, Brittany, León in Spain, Austria, Hungary and Iceland together with the home Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Team will compete with one another over the weekend of 7th-8th April at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith.
The Championships consist of two styles of wrestling, ‘Backhold’ and ‘Gouren.’ The backhold position is the Cumbria style, which involves the wrestlers standing chest to chest, grasping each other around the body with their chins on their opponent’s right shoulder. Gouren is a folk wrestling jacket style, practised in Brittany, France, and established in both Europe and Asia going back many centuries.
Town Council Mayor, Scott Jackson, says: “It’s exciting for Penrith to be hosting an international event and especially one in a sport so important to our local heritage. I hope all the competitors enjoy their time here and wish them good luck in their events.”
An opening ceremony will start the programme on Saturday 7th April with teams parading the arena with their flags. Before the Championships begin, all competitors will swear the Breton wrestler’s oath: “I swear to wrestle with entire loyalty Without treachery and brutality For my honour and that of my country. In testimony of my sincerity And to follow the custom of my ancestors I present to my fellow my hand and my cheek.”
Entry to the event is free to all on both competition days. The hope is to attract people who want to experience the sport possibly for the first time, as well as those who have already witnessed local wrestling at Lakeland Sports or Agricultural Shows.