2016 Photo Contest, Sports, 2nd prize

The Gris-gris Wrestlers of Senegal


Christian Bobst

04 April, 2015

People watch a match held as part of Independence Day celebrations.

Senegalese wrestling is the most popular sport in Senegal, attracting major sponsors and wide media coverage. Wrestlers can become national stars and extremely wealthy, with top prizes reaching hundreds of thousands of euros. The sport is part of a larger West African form of traditional wrestling, but differs in that the Senegalese version allows blows with the hands. It has its historical roots in preparations among warrior classes for battle, and is still seen as an indication of masculine strength and ability. Tournaments involve drumming and dance, and wrestlers practice a range of rituals—such as the presentation of amulets, and rubbing with lotions—to increase their chances and ward off bad luck.

About the photographer

Christian Bobst

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
70.0 mm

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