Ssirum ace wins back trophy

November 15, 2022

Last September the 18th Grand Bull Prize national ssirum (Korean wrestling) contest was held to mark Chusok, a folk holiday of the Korean people, on Rungna Islet’s picturesque ssirum ground.

Song Chol Min (pictured), student of Pyongyang College of Economics, lifted the trophy in the contest of ssirum aces selected from every province (city under the direct control of the government).

In the competition, Song demonstrated that a man who does not fall down is a strong man, but a man who gets up again after falling is a stronger man.

At the final match of the 17th Grand Bull Prize national ssirum contest last year, he finished runner-up as he lost the final game with a player from Kangwon Province weighing about 30 kg less than him.

“I keenly realized at that time that ssirum is not played by relying on body weight or sudden strength alone. So I even thought of giving up the sport,” recalled Song.

But many well-wishers encouraged him to become a true ssirum player, saying that if he quit, he would remain a loser forever and that he should not leave before clinching a win.

He rose up again with great endeavour. He trained so hard that he lost a dozen kilograms of his body weight.

His perseverance, strength and skills saw a remarkable improvement and they were fully displayed in the group matches in the 18th Grand Bull Prize national ssirum contest.

He was placed first in Group D and automatically earned qualification for the quarterfinal. He overpowered all the rivals to go on to the semifinal. He beat a player from North Hwanghae Province 2-0.

At the final he encountered a player from Kangwon Province, last year’s champion.

“He was a formidable player I had competed with since the 16th Grand Bull Prize contest. I won the 16th contest and he the 17th. So, spectators held extraordinary expectations about our bout in the 18th contest,” said Song.

Song won the first round with body-twist throw, whereas the Kangwon Provincial player beat him in the second round by means of lifting-and-throwing, succeeding in equalizing the game.

With the blow of the whistle, the third round began, which would decide the winner of the 18th contest. Spectators who had broken into enthusiastic cheers gazed at them holding their breath.

Amid the see-saw battle, Song missed his hold of waist thigh band of the rival and at that moment the Kangwon player mounted a sudden attack.

Spectators thought that Song would lose his chance, but he, with composure, controlled the opponent by drawing his left leg toward him and toppled him by tripping his right leg.

“A moment’s mistake or absence of mind can never be allowed in the ssirum match where the final consequence is decided in a moment. I have realized through today’s match that we can emerge victorious when we remain alert and do not lose powers of concentration even at the falling moment,” Song said, adding he would make redoubled efforts to encourage and develop ssirum, an excellent sport of the Korean nation. 


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