Bets of over N1million have been placed in the 6th edition of the Best of the Season Ram Championship, holding at at Jalisco Sports Centre, Bolade, Oshodi, Lagos.
Naij.com reports that Over 100 rams would contest in the two-week long championship which began on Sunday and would end on September 1. An official of the Ram Sports Promoters Association of Nigeria, RSPAN, who pleaded anonymity, said on Monday in Lagos that the championship was aimed primarily at picking out the strongest ram.
He also said that the competition is a celebration of “our cultural heritage as practised by our forefathers.” “Ram charging is a cultural sport that has existed for a long time but is (now) being used by people for betting purposes in order to generate money. Ram fighting is one of our cultural heritages that our forefathers practised but they did not have a legitimate body governing the coordination of their sport,” he said.
The official added that the strongest rams at the Lagos zonal competition would compete in the National Rams Championships, scheduled for January 2014, also in Lagos. “Ram owners from the 33 zones in the West, which comprises Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Kwara, assemble their rams for the annual event,” he explained. According to the official, RSPAN was formed six years ago in order to properly manage ram competitions and prove to the public that the animals used in the sport are being monitored.
“The association over the years has been able to generate competitions and make it known to the public that the fighting rams, referred to as gladiators are safe,” he said. He stated that the association discouraged any form of unofficial betting within the premises of the competition in order to create orderliness and reduce fighting among fans during the competition.
Another official of the body said that the competition explained that fights are overseen by three match officials to further control and reduce the occurrence of injuries on the rams. “We have the ram monitor, ram referee and ram marshal who jointly help to properly station the rams and conduct their charges in order to minimise injuries to the head of the participating rams.
“These rams can charge at a speed of 50 km an hour and collide with a force that can literary crush a human’s skull like an egg,” he said . He said that the rams, naturally equipped with horns to resist such pressure can make over 30 charges at fight which he said made the fights interesting to watch.