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Nyon wrestles with tradition

To become a champion wrestler is the dream of many Swiss farm boys

(Keystone Archive)

The Swiss Alpine Wrestling Festival is one of the most popular traditional events in the country. The long awaited open-air event is held only every three years, and this time, the town of Nyon on Lake Geneva will host it from August 24 to August 26.

For the first time in 15 years, the event is being held in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

Nearly 300 wrestlers from across the country will fight for the honour of wearing the crown for the next three years. Dressed in white or in farmer's clothes, each man tries to pin the shoulders of his competitor to the sawdust floor of the ring.

Dozens of musical groups, choirs and orchestras will provide musical entertainment for the 30,000 spectators expected to descend on Nyon for the event.

Exhibitions are scheduled of other traditional sports and customs, such as stone throwing and "Hornussen" - a unique cross between golf and baseball.

The organisers have chosen "Emotion and Ambition" as the theme of this year's festival. It gets underway next Friday with a parade and the handing over of the official flag.

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