If you go to Senegal you will certainly come across the sport known as Laamb. This is the traditional form of wrestling originally performed by the Serer people and is now a national sport in Senegal & parts of the Gambia.
Its roots come from the wrestling tradition of the Serer people and was used as a preparation ritual for war among the warrior class. Today the sport is practiced by both men & women from all tribes in Senegal and enjoys patronage from both domestic and international sponsors.
A contest between two men dressed in loincloths and decked in talismans. The winner is whoever puts his opponent on the ground, whether on his back, rear, stomach, or a combination of hands and knees. It is an old sport, fought in the sand, steeped in deep, village traditions. But in the last decade, this pastime has evolved into an outsized spectacle, widely televised; its champions have become wealthy celebrities with a greater claim on people’s hearts than any president or businessman. Professional wrestler can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars in endorsements, according to the local news media.
During the ceremony, the wrestler, accompanied by drummers and singers, dances around the arena; around his arms, legs, and waist are various kinds of amulets the purpose of which is to give him luck and also protect him against the charms of his opponent.
Today, the combination of legend, money and mysticism has made laamb a cradle for heroes and the ambition of every boy in Senegal.it used to be practised in the countryside at the end of the harvest, amongst the Serer and Diola ethnic groups. Wrestlers face up to each other, and the winner is the one who causes his adversary to fall to the ground first. This jousting battle used to be a means of measuring the strength of men, to determine the champion of each village.
It was practiced to rejoice, perpetuate cultural folklore, and to designate the strongest man of the village who will become the champion wrestler until the next year.