CHATTOGRAM: Defending runner-up Shahjalal Boli clinched the title of traditional ‘Jabbarer Boli Khela’ defeating reigning champion Jibon Boli in the 114th edition of the wrestling competition held at historic Laldighi Maidan in the port city on Tuesday.
Md Shahjalal, who hails from Homna upazila in Cumilla district, became champion for the second time. He became runner-up last year.
On Tuesday, Jibon and Shahjalal fought only for around one minute.
Then, Jibon walked out complaining of physical illness.
As a result, referee Siddik Ahmed Boli, who is also a five times champion of the famous tournament, announced Shahjalal as champion.
After winning the title, Shahjalal in an instant reaction thanked all for the support.
“I fought till the last moment last year, but somehow I couldn’t become champion. This year, I was determined to win the title,” he said, adding that he will try to retain the success in the future.
Chief referee MA Malek, also a former Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) councillor, announced retirement from the game after a glorious refereeing career of 33 years.
Chief guest of the event CCC Mayor M Rezaul Karim Chowdhury handed over a flower garland to honour him on the last day of his career.
“Abdul Jabbar Smriti Kusti Pratijogita O Baishakhi Mela Udjapan Parishad” organised the 114th show of the three-day event beginning on Monday.
A total of 60 wrestlers from different parts of the country, including Cumilla, Chandpur, Cox’s Bazar, Noakhali, Feni and coastal areas of Chattogram, fought in the first round of the competition which started around 3:00pm.
In the semi-finals, Jibon defeated Srijon Chakma of Khagrachhari.
On the other hand, Shahjalal qualified for the final after defeating Abdun Nur of Anwara.
Private television channel Chanel i broadcasted the event live.
Earlier, Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) Commissioner Krishna Pada Roy inaugurated the competition around 2:50pm.
Chattogram Zila Parishad Chairman ATM Pearul Islam, organising committee President and local ward councillor Jahar Lal Hazari and General Secretary Shawkat Anwar Badal attended the event among others. This time the wrestling competition was held at the Laldighi Maidan from where the competition was launched more than 110 years back.
The traditional event was held on the road adjacent to the Maidan last year after remaining suspended for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prominent local merchant Abdul Jabbar Sawdagar of the city's Badorpati area introduced the wrestling competition as a traditional event in 1909 (Bangla 1316). The aim was to organise and inspire the youths for anti-British movement.
It is said that the history of this event dates back to the Muslim and Arakani rules when aristocratic families, particularly the landlords, used to employ healthy and strong wrestlers to counter their rivals.
There were 22 families of wrestlers hailing from 20 villages on the alluvial plain between the River Karnaphuli and Shankha in South Chattogram.