Zim shines in US national wrestling championship

LONDON - Zimbabwe-born Farai Sewera (FS) recently won the American National College Wrestling Championship for Coe College in USA.

From his humble beginnings at Rydings Junior School in Karoi, Sewera was sport-focused, earning a spot in the Mashonaland West U13 Rugby team.

While at Prince Edward School in Harare, he continued to participate in sports until he immigrated to USA in 2008.

Our correspondent Pamela Samasuwo Nyawiri (PSN) caught up with Farai for an insightful interview.

PSN: How long were you training for till you felt comfortable with the basic elements of pro wrestling? Please describe that “turning moment’’.

FS: Right now I compete at the College Level, NCAA Division 3. I am a junior and I have been wrestling for 7 years, I’m not a professional wrestler, but I am a student-athlete at Coe College.

My “Turning moment” happened during my senior year in high school. I lost in the Illinois wrestling state finals at 160lbs. Even though I didn’t win, I felt like that match could have gone either way. That led to my decision to continue on wrestling while attending college.

PSN: Tell us in detail about your day-to-day training?

FS: Wrestling season is six months long. We wrestle every day of the week. We lift three times a week, two of them 6am workouts. Since I am a student, wrestling usually revolves around my academics.

Practice is 1.5-hours long. We do some wrestling drills, learn or improve on technique and then we wrestle each other at the end.

PSN: Can you describe briefly about your recent win, and how it felt like to be crowned champion?

FS: I recently became the United States National Champion wrestler @165lbs in Division 3. This was my ultimate goal, the reason I decided to wrestle in college. I just wanted to make my mom and my coaches proud because they supported me the whole way there.

I was proud in the fact that I was able to set a huge goal and achieve it. I was just in the moment; it showed me that I have been making the right decisions.

PSN: While trying to become a professional wrestler, did you ever get discouraged in your journey and start to think you should just give up the dream?

FS: Not really, I had committed myself to getting a degree and wrestling at the college level for Coe College.

I knew that there was no way my mom would ever let me drop out of college so I wanted to get the best I could out of the four years I was going to spend at Coe college.

After bad days or matches I just had to constantly remind myself that you win some and you lose some.

PSN: Were you ever intimidated in any matches against guys who are perhaps more technically proficient in the ring?

FS: For me wrestling is about discipline and control, not violence, after doing it for a while there really nothing to fear. I’ve been worried about wrestling guys that everyone thought were better, but the good thing about wrestling is that the better wrestler doesn’t always win the match.

It’s all about who keeps it together during that match. You could be beating a guy by 10 points, but if he pulls one move and pins you, that is the end of the match.

PSN: I grew up watching WWE, how is it different from what you do if it is and what is the difference between WWE pro Wrestlers and TNA?

FS: What I do is folk style wrestling, it’s very different from WWE. WWE is entertainment, they choreograph their moves and it’s a business so whatever people want to see is in the rules.

What I do is just pure wrestling. There are no weapons and you wrestle on a mat. Its more controlled and there is no intention to harm the other guy, we just want to win based on skill.

PSN: On a scale of 1-10 how dangerous is the sport?

FS: Overall I would say six it is no different than any other contact sport, some accidents happen.

But the answer to that depends on the skill level. Beginners are more likely to get hurt because they don’t understand the natural way some body parts are meant to move so it’s easy to tweak something the wrong way.  More experienced wrestlers know how stuff moves, so both guys know what to do to prevent injuring the other.

PSN: When you were starting out, were there any aspects of pro wrestling you found harder to master than others?

FS: Controlling my weight was very hard at first because I love to eat. I am a lot better now, but that is still an aspect I don’t really like.

Dealing with losses was also hard at first. When you lose in wrestling there is really no excuse, it’s all on you. Your opponent weighs the same as you so you can only blame yourself.

PSN: Is there still the ability to make a comfortable living as independent wrestlers compared to talent contracted to full time schedules with one of the bigger companies?

FS: With international wrestling, the only wrestlers that can really make a good living are the ones who win those big international tournaments and Olympic medals.

Majority of the independent wrestlers depend on another type of income besides the sport.

PSN: Do you think that wrestling is perceived as a sport in Africa?

FS: I think if more people knew about it they could perceive it as a sport. When I lived in Zimbabwe, I only knew about WWE, I didn’t know there was an original form of wrestling that WWE was based on.

So I think more knowledge about the sport would help with that perception

PSN: If you were given the opportunity to mentor some young people in Zimbabwe, what would be the first two things you would want them to understand about the sport?

FS: First thing is that wrestling is not for everyone, to be a wrestler you have to be willing to work really hard, but after you make that commitment it is very rewarding.

Second thing is that you don’t have to learn everything about wrestling to be good, you should pick like three things and get really good at them to start with.

PSN: Is there a piece of advice you received early on that still rings true today?

FS: My high school wrestling coach would always say: “Don’t be afraid to be great” before all my big matches. I think he just wanted me to perform at my pace instead of trying to do what everyone else was doing.

Sometimes during big matches you think about what would happen if you won or lost and those thoughts could be intimidating and cause you to lose track of what you are doing.

Comments (1)

Well done Farai, Zimbabwe is proud of you. Keep the good work up.

Memory Chidavaenzi - 10 May 2015

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