on the caucasus, love for freestyle wrestling is – as people here claim – ‘in the blood’.

for decades, dagestan has been one of russia’s leading suppliers when it comes to world-class wrestlers. the federal republic even faces a luxury problem; competition for a place within the russian national team is so extreme, that many athletes try their luck abroad.

due to incessant international success, everywhere in dagestan sport-complexes are bursting at their seams. a new generation of ‘fighters’, as the wrestlers here are called, is permanently ready to relieve the current one…