The first ever Kurash tournament in New Zealand was held in Auckland on Sunday 8 June 2003. The venue was the school hall of the Murrays Bay primary school, in Murrays Bay, on the North Shore of Auckland.
This was a tournament for junior players under 14 years of age. A total number of 139 entries were received and about 150 parents and other spectators came to watch the spectacle. All matches were fiercely contested in the different categories for bantam boys (under 11 years), girls (under 14 years), and junior boys (between 10 and 14 years of age). The level of play was impressive, and with a start like this for Kurash, the future is indeed very bright for the sport.
In the finals, it was the team from the Mt. Albert School which defeated the North Shore School by 30 points to 27 in a closely fought event which was only won in the very last match of the day. For their effort, each team member was awarded a gold medal and a floating trophy for the team, which they will have to defend at the next event in November.
The teams from Hibiscus Coast and Bays City shared third prize and were awarded with bronze medals.
The event was a huge success and all members of the NZ Kurash Federation Executive were present to witness the launch of Kurash in NZ. Members are now preparing for the junior world championships in Colombo, Sri Lanka in October, while the seniors are focusing on the Oceania championships on 2 November, also held in Auckland.
Report by Mr. Johan Boshoff, President of the New Zealand Kurash Federation