Inside the crazy world of Bolivian female wrestling where women in dresses bodyslam and fish hook rivals in WWE-style bouts
THE colourful world of Bolivia’s female wrestlers is a spectacle a world away from the likes of Big Daddy.
Cholita Wrestling, as it is known, is a bizarre mix of WWF and Mexico’s ‘lucha libre’ where Bolivian women get dressed up to battle it out in the ring.
It’s perhaps more of a spectacle and display rather than sporting prowess but the crowds seem to enjoy the entertainment.
Previously the word ‘cholita’ was a derogatory term for indigenous or mixed heritage girls but the women are putting a positive spin on the word, helping them to be empowered, resourceful and proud – as well as fashionable.
Where once these women were the focus of racism and oppression they are now turning the tables to express their feisty spirit in the Latin American sport known as Lucha Libre – freestyle wrestling.
One group of wrestling women who call themselves The Flying Cholitas peform every Sunday night and take on not just other women but their male counterparts as well.
While wrestling in the country has been a popular sport since the 1950s it is only in recent years that Cholita wrestling has taken off.
Cholita wrestling was first started as a way for females who suffered from domestic abuse to express their frustration and release stress.
Initially the female wrestlers were part of promoter Juan Mamani’s Titans of the Ring but many of the Cholitas decided to break away from the male-controlled Titans and set up on their own.
There’s a lively atmosphere surrounding the events with bands playing, street stalls and food vendors outside.
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The bouts are a mixture of sporting prowess, acrobatics, comical confrontations and usually a good guy vs bad guy routine.
There’s audience participation too with the audience throwing plastic bottles, popcorn and even potatoes at the wrestlers – and the wrestlers encourage the audience to join in the fun.
It might all be staged but the crowds love it.
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