More than 100 wrestlers from around the world are preparing to compete at the Ulster Freestyle Wrestling Championships in Carrickfergus this weekend.
The championships take place on Saturday from 10am until 4pm, with the sport’s top talents set to travel from as far afield as the USA, Canada, Scotland and England.
The free event is being staged at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre and will be hosted by Barbarians Wrestling Club, based in the town.
Mid and East Antrim councillor Noel Jordan praised the organisers, saying the event would showcase our local sporting talent as well as benefit tourism and the economy within the Borough.
He said: “Barbarians is a fantastic club in Carrickfergus and attracts people of all ages and abilities from all backgrounds.
“It is a huge coup for the club and Mid and East Antrim to secure the Ulster Freestyle Wrestling Championships in Carrickfergus.
“There is a real buzz about the club and the town with the countdown well underway to the event.
“I’m delighted that clubs and competitors from America and across the UK are planning to attend and test their skills against a high calibre of competition.
“Barbarians has some superb wrestlers in its ranks, with many holding county, Ulster and Irish titles. I have no doubt they will do us all proud on home soil.
“Tournaments such as this put our Borough on the map as a location for top-level sport and are hugely beneficial to tourism and our economy.
“The health and wellbeing of our citizens is a priority to Council, as outlined in our Community Plan, and sport plays a major role in that.
“I call on our citizens to support our local sporting stars and trust they will turn out to get behind what promises to be a brilliant competition.”
Stuart Baker, head coach at Barbarians Wrestling Club, said: “The age ranges are from six and upwards, with dedicated weight groups.
“We are delighted the championships will be taking place in Carrickfergus and look forward to offering all our visitors a warm Mid and East Antrim welcome.
“Our club is one of the longest-running freestyle wrestling organisations in Northern Ireland and we welcome everybody to come and try our sport, whether you have a desire to compete or simply to keep fit.”