By Kieran Doherty
While working on assignment in Mongolia’s capital Ulan Batar, I happened to find myself in a wrestling gymnasium. Wrestling is considered the most important of the Mongolian culture’s historic triumvirate of ‘manly’ skills, the other two being horsemanship and archery. It is said that Genghis Khan considered wrestling to be the best way to keep his army in top physical and combat ready condition.
Mongolia’s freestyle 60kg wrestler Ganzorig Mandakhnaran is now taking this most important of skills into the Olympic arena where he will be one of a very small number of select athletes representing, relative to size, the most sparsely populated country on earth. You might think that in a country of Mongolia’s size, and only boasting 2.8 million inhabitants, space would not be at a premium. However almost half of Mongolia’s population live in the capital city Ulaan Baatar.
Feb 21 (Reuters) – While the elite of the sporting world
tune up for this year’s London Olympics in top class facilities,
many hundreds of other medal hopefuls are forced to make do with
less salubrious surroundings.
Mongolia’s Asian champion freestyle wrestler Mandakhnaran
Ganzorig is a case in point, as a visit to his training camp in
Ulan Bator, the capital of his landlocked country, last October
‘Stonehenge, where the demons dwell, where the banshees live and they do live well, Stonehenge’.
Those words were immortalized by the greatest rock band to ever stalk the earth, Spinal Tap. This neolithic and bronze age monument is located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire and I am frequently called upon via some magnetic force to make the short journey down there from my home to cover either a Stonehenge summer or winter solstice, a snow covered Stonehenge or even a Perseid meteor showered Stonehenge.
The coffins of six British soldiers killed in Afghanistan are driven though the streets of Wootton Bassett in southwest England November 10, 2009. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Since the early 2000′s, the bodies of fallen servicemen and women from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places have been repatriated to RAF Lyneham. They pass through the town of Wootton Bassett on their way to the coroner in Oxford. This has led to family members, friends, locals and mourners from further afield assembling along the route of the funeral cortege. It is an emotionally charged event that garners wide media coverage every time.