Photo Essay: The Laamb Wrestlers Of Senegal

Wrestling (called Laamb in the Wolof language and Lutte sénégalaise in French) is a national sport in Senegal and has grown in popularity over the last few decades. It originated from the tradition of the Serer people as preparation for war among the warrior classes of the culture. It is common throughout Senegal and in parts of The Gambia as well. During the wrestling contests, men often put on elaborate outfits to intimidate their opponents and entertain the crowds in everything from small amateur matches at the beach to the giant stadium contests. Here are some of the faces of the wrestlers of Senegal.

wrestling beach senegal

Michel Piccaya / Shutterstock

Small wrestling contests are very popular on the beach, where most of the training occurs.

wrestler portrait senegal

Courtesy of Christophe André / flickr

Many of the wrestlers look extremely intimidating. We wouldn’t want to brawl with this guy!

wrestling grass senegal

klublu / Shutterstock

You have to move quickly or you’ll easily get thrown to the ground.

senegal wrestling dance

Courtesy of Robin Presta / flickr

Traditional dancing usually occurs before matches begin.

wrestling area on beach

Photo by Sebastien Lafont / flickr

Wrestling in Senegal dates all the way back to the 14th century.

elaborate costumes senegal

Photo courtesy of Robin Presta / flickr

As mentioned, the outfits can be quite elaborate.

senegal wrestler in gambia

Maciej Wlodarczyk / Shutterstock

The sport is so popular that it has spread to nearby Gambia.

kids wrestling senegal

klublu / Shutterstock

Children begin training for wrestling at an early age, eager to become stars of the sport.

blue rope senegal wrestler

Courtesy of Robin Presta / flickr

The elaborate outfits often invoke elements of mysticism.

focused wrestler senegal

Courtesy of liesvanrompaey / flickr

Wrestlers get extremely focused before matches due to the high stakes (money) involved

Related content on AFKTravel: 

10 Reasons Saint Louis, Senegal Should Be On Your Bucket List
Culture Corner: 10 Festivals In Senegal That You Should Know About
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Senegal

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