Beach Wrestling, or Wrestling on sand, is a sport with roots from Ancient Greece.

The style of the athletes competing resembles very much ancient Wrestling, namely Standing Wrestling (Orthopali) as it used to be called, a sport that was included in the Olympic Games schedule.

The differences between Bech Wrestling and Orthopali, two sports with even similar rules, is that in antiquity athletes used to compete naked and on earth soil, while now they wear shorts and battle on sand.

The revival of Orthopali in the modern era took place in 2004, and was due to the efforts of a small group of people scattered all over the world. Four Greeks were among them.

In 2005, the first tournament was held in Antalya, Turkey, and in 2006 the first World Championships took place in the same city.

From then on, the sport has developed at lightning pace.  World Championships are held every year. One of them was hosted by Katerini, Greece, in 2014 and was a big success from both a competitive and organizational point of view.

As a result, Greece by now ranks among the world’s elite, a fact that was proven again last month, as the country left the World Championships held in Ukraine carrying a gold and a silver medal.

Ancient Wrestling and Beach Wrestling are expected come even closer to each other from September 26th and 29th, when Beach Wrestling matches will take place in the archaeological site of Dion, Pieria, Greece, at the foot of famous Mount Olympus. 

Greece was the dominant force of the sport four years ago, in the I Mediterranean Beach Games of Pescara, winning seven medals (two gold, three silver and two bronze) in four Men’s and Women’s categories.

Algeria (1-2-2), Italy (1-1-0), Egypt (1-0-1), France (1-0-1), Syria (1-0-0) and Spain (0-1-1) followed suit.