Maradi 2012

Tillabéri 2010

Tahoua 2009

Dosso 2008

Agadez 2007

Zinder 1986


List of finalists
of wrestling games since 1975





Zarma sport & culture: Traditional Wrestling

General information To list of finalist  

The national traditional wrestling championship was introduced by the military government of Seïni Kountché in 1975 in order to valorise the national culture [a,b]. Each of the eight regions of Niger has a delegation of about ten wrestlers [u].

The wrestlers are accompanied by traditional medicine men, by « Tchali tchali », who entertain the public with there imitations of the fights, and by drummers of the « ganga » (tam-tam). These are important persons for the success of the games. The traditional medicine men prepare there heroes for the fight. Fighters are often soaked with pungent smelling perfume (magic mixtures) and wear a girdle with talismans [c]. The opponents are not allowed to tear off the others girdle [t].

The fight takes place in a ring with a diameter of 16 to 20 metres bordered by sand bags and ropes. The soil within the ring is covered with fine sand [t,y]. The wrestler fight torso naked, wearing shorts or most often a « walki » (boxer shorts made of goat skin) [y]. Actions aiming to all parts of the body are allowed. There is no classification by weight. The fight passes upright. The wrestlers rub their hands with sand to ascertain a better grip on their opponent. The winner is he who gets his rival to touch the soil by any part of his body with the exception of the feet and hands [t] or manages to get his opponent in a 'wheelbarrow' or 'in the air' position [y]

An arbitration board supervises and coordinates the fight. This 3-men board consists of the national technical director of wrestling, a timekeeper, and a person who keeps the score [y].
Also within the ring a trio is responsible, a senior referee and two assistants. Each of the assistants wears a pennant corresponding with the colours of the girdle of one of the wrestlers assigned by lot [y].

The winner receives a plated sabre symbol of the national wrestling champion title or king of the ring, a horse with saddle equipment, a turban and « boubou » (long tunica), an amount of money from the state and many other gifts [d,y]. In recent years the amount of money for the winner more than tripled from 3 to 10 million FCFA. Also the total mount of money involved in the games has increased significantly from 15 million in 1975 to 70 million FCFA in 2010 [ad].

In older days
Before traditional wrestling was practiced all over the country for a very long time. The local games were in earlier times organised after the harvest period
to celebrate gathering in the harvest [e,t]. In Zarma society wrestling has always been considered as a simple demonstration of force. In the Touareg society wrestling was practiced as a duel. The two wrestlers were attached to each other to force them to compete without backing out [f].

More information
Additional back ground information on traditional wrestling in Niger (in French) can be found in the book of Jean-Yves Ruszniewski [KoKowa : La lutte traditionnelle au Niger].






Hippo hunt






List of finalists of the traditional wrestling games of Niger [e]

Edition, place of games, date, duration, source winning finalist (region) Prize (FCFA) losing finalist (region)
33rd, Maradi, 4 March 2012, 13m [af, ae] Laminou Maidaba (27y/100kg), Agadez 10 million Yacouba Adamou, Niamey
32nd, Tillabéri, 26 December 2010, 18m [ab, ac] Oumarou Ali dit Bindigao (35y), Maradi 10 million Boubé Boureima, Dosso
31st, Zinder, 21 February 2010, 1m05s [y,z,aa] Laminou Maidaba (24y/80kg), Agadez 5 million Mahamadou Anafi, Tahoua
30th, Taoua, 8 March 2009, <4m [w,x] [preliminaries] Laminou Maidaba (23y/75kg), Agadez 2 million Harouna Abdou (31y/120kg), Tahoua
29th , Dosso, 2 March 2008, 6m35s  [d,g,h] Harouna Abdou (30y/118kg), Tahoua[i] 2 million Oumarou Ali dit Bindigao (33y/96kg), Maradi
28th , Agadez, 16 February 2007, 1h9m, [g,i] Harouna Abdou (29y/115kg), Tahoua[i] 3 million Idrissa Natabawa (28y/80kg), Maradi
27th , Diffa, 26 March 2006, 7m, [b,j,k,l] Oumarou Ali dit Bindigao (31y/95kg), Maradi 1 million Harouna Abdou (28y/90kg), Tahoua[i]
No games in 2005 due to 5th Francophone Games held in Niger  [k]
No games in 2004  [k]
26th , Niamey, 2003,  [b,k,m,n,u] Mahamadou Abdoulkarim, Niamey 2 million Dari Worno, Maradi
25th , Maradi, 9 February 2002, 2m10s, [b,k,f] Balla Harouna (34y), Zinder   Ibrahim Tchiama, Diffa
24th , Tillabéri, 2001 [d] Hassane Adamou, Tahoua   Harouna Abdou (24y), Tahoua
23rd , Zinder, 26 November 2000,  [o,p,q] Issa Gazagourou (25y), Tahoua 1 million Daouda Abdou, Maradi,
22nd , Dosso, 1999, [b,k,m] Balla Harouna (31y), Zinder   Badamassi Alassane, Zinder
21st , Tahoua, 13 December 1998 [k,m,v] Mahamadou Idi dit Commando, Tahoua   Badamassi Alassane, Zinder
No games in 1997
20th , Agadez, 1996, > 2h [a,b,m] Balla Harouna, Zinder   Nouhou Moumouni, Maradi (Dosso?)
19th , Diffa, 1995 Badamassi Alassane, Zinder   Mahamadou Idi, Tahoua
18th , Zinder, 1994 Labo Maïkaho, Maradi   Badamassi Alassane, Zinder
17th , Maradi, 1993 Badamassi Alassane, Zinder   Barmou Lalé, Niamey
16th , Tahoua, 1992 Labo Maïkafo, Maradi   Balla Harouna, Zinder
15th , Niamey, 1991 Ada Masko, Maradi   Oumarou Maty, Maradi
14th , Dosso, 1990 Mahamdou Idi, Tahoua   Badamassi Alassane, Zinder
13th , Agadez, 1989 Sani Moumouni, Maradi   Labo Maïkafo, Maradi
No games in 1988
12th , Diffa, 1987 Naroua Sanou, Niamey   Saïyadi Assoutane, Tahoua
11th , Zinder, 1986 Ousseini Kataki, Tahoua   Naroua Sanou, Niamey
No games in 1985
10th , Dosso, 1984 Issoufou Aboubacar, Tahoua   Kassou Kazuga, Tahoua
9th , Maradi, 1983,  [r] Kassou Kazuga, Tahoua   Issoufou Aboubacar, Tahoua
8th , Tahoua, 1982 Langa Langa, Zinder   Kassou Kazouga, Tahoua
7th , Niamey, 1981 Balla Kado, Zinder   Langa Langa, Zinder
6th , Agadez, 1980 Yacouba Ango dit Kantou,  Maradi   Balla Kado, Zinder
5th , Diffa, 1979 Salma Dan Rani (32y), Dosso[s]   Salami Mato, Tahoua
4th , Zinder, 1978, [d] Yacouba Ango dit Kantou,  Maradi   Salma Dan Rani, Dosso[s]
3rd , Dosso, 1977, [d] Yacouba Ango dit Kantou,  Maradi   Kadadé, Tahoua
2nd , Maradi, 1976 Salma Dan Rani (29y), Dosso[s]   Kadadé, Tahoua
1st , Tahoua, 1975 Yacouba Ango dit Kantou,  Maradi   Bawa Doutchi



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[a] Robert Bourgoing (1997). Lutte traditionnelle : sport, argent et pouvoir., mars 1997 [web]

[b] AFP (2006). Niger: Début du championnat de lutte traditionnel au Niger., 17 mars 2006 [web]

[c] Djibril Saidou (2007). Un après-midi dans une arène de lutte au Niger. Agence de Presse Africaine, 26 février 2007 [web]

[d] Ousmane Keïta (2008). 29e championnat national de lutte traditionnelle. «Le bison de Tamaské» se succède à lui-même. Le Républicain, 6 mars 2008 [web].

[e] APA (2008). Les icônes de la lutte traditionnelle, au Niger. Agence de Presse Africaine, 25 février 2008 21h10 [web]

[f] Saidou Djibril (2003). NIGERAMA, Lutte traditionnelle : 25e édition du championnat national. Finale mystique à Maradi. TelQuel, no. 2, pages 7-8, mars 2003 [pdf]

[g] APA (2008). Les innovations du Championnat nigérien de lutte traditionnelle. Agence de Presse Africaine, 25 février 2008 20h38 [web] 

[h] Anonymes (2008). Lutte Traditionnelle au NIGER le championnat 2008. Fédération de Gouren, 17 février 2008 [web]

[i] APA (2007). Harouna Abdou sacré champion national de lutte 2007 du Niger. Agence de Presse Africaine, 25 février 2007 [web].

[j] XINHUA (2006) Oumarou Bindigaou, nouveau champion de lutte traditionnelle au Niger., 27 mars 2006 [web]

[k] APA (2008). Lutte traditionnelle, Harouna Abdou, Taureau de l’Ader conserve son titre. 29ÈME championnat de lutte traditionnelle au Niger. Sunu AMB no 108, 20 septembre 2008 [web]

[l] APA (2006). Deux Nigériens champions du monde de lutte de plage. Agence de Presse Africaine, 15 novembre 2006 15h19  [web]

[m] Yannick Ousmane Keïta (2006). Décès de Ali Ali. La lutte traditionnelle perd un de ses espoirs., 3 février 2006 [web]

[n] XINHUA (2004). Niger : Mahamadou Abdoulkarim, champion national de lutte traditionnelle 2004. [web]

[o] Ignace Jeannerat (2000) Corps à corps pour un sabre. Le Temps du Monde, 1 décembre 2000  [web]

[p] Arimi Abba (2000) Lutte traditionnelle. Une bonne finale pour un championnat bâclé. Journal Alternative, 30 novembre 2000 [web]

[q] Arimi Abba (2000) Lutte traditionnelle. Crise de croissance de la lutte... nigérienne. Journal Alternative, 24 novembre 2000  [web]

[r] Mahaman L. Sériba (2005) La lutte traditionnelle au Niger: entre volontarisme étatique et symbolisme ancestral. Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, 42 (2) 2005, pages 239-253 [pdf]

[s] Anonymes (2008). Salma Dan Rani, élégance et fair-play. Planète, 22 février 2008. [web]

[t] Frédéric Loyer () Les luttes traditionnelles dans le monde. Luttes Nigériennes. Fédération Française de Lutte, visited on 16 January 2009 [web]

[u] Idy Baraou (2003) Wrestling captivates Niger. BBC News, 7 February 2003 [web]

[v] Dan-Bouzoua Ali (1998) Championnat national de lutte traditionnelle. 20 décembre 1998 [web]

[w] APA (2009) Laminou Maidaba d’Agadez, sacré champion 2009 de lutte traditionnelle du Niger. 8 mars 2009 [web]

[x] Oumarou Moussa (2009) Fin de la 30ème édition du championnat national de lutte traditionnelle, Tahoua 2009 : Laminou Maïdaba d'Agadez, champion national. Le Sahel, 10 mars 2009 [web]

[y] Djibril Saidou (2010)  La lutte, sport-roi du Niger tient son 31ème championnat du 12 au 21 février à Zinder. 09 janvier 2010 [web]

[z] Alfa Amadou (2010) Fin du 31ème championnat national de lutte traditionnelle à Zinder : 2ème sabre pour Laminou Maidabba. Championnat national de lutte traditionnelle 2010. 21 février 2010 [web]

[aa] Afrique Avenir (2010) Laminou Maidaba conserve son titre de champion de lutte au Niger.  Afrique Avenir, 21 février 2010 [web1, web2]

[ab] Issaka Saïdou & Laouali Souleymane (2010) Fin, hier à Tillabéry, de la 32ème édition du championnat national de lutte traditionnelle : Oumarou Ali Bindigao remporte le sabre et dix (10) millions de FCFA. / Sahel, 27 Décembre 2010 [web1, pdf]

[ac] Ali Abdou (2011) Interview avec le champion 2010 de la Lutte traditionnelle Oumarou Bindigaou. / Garkuwa, 5 Janvier 2011 [web1, pdf]

[ad] APA News (2010) Le champion 2010 de lutte traditionnelle recevra une récompense de 10 millions FCFA, une première au Niger. APA /, 18 Decembre 2010 [web]

[ae] Laouali Souleymane (2012) Installation du comité chargé de l’organisation de la 33ème édition du sabre national de lutte traditionnelle : le grand rendez-vous du sport roi se déroulera à Maradi, du 24 février au 4 mars 2012. 4 février 2012 [web] / Sahel Dimanche, 3 février 2012, page 8.

[af] (2012) 33ème édition du Sabre National : Laminou Maidaba remporte le Sabre National. Dimanche 04 Mars 2012 22:12. [web]


Last updated: 07 maart 2012