Senegalese wrestling is more than a sport, it's à part of the culture, and yekini has been its best ambassador for 18 years. His humility, his work ethic, his demeanor....put him in a class by himself. He past the level of getting judged by wins and losses....his first defeat won't change his legacy...in fact, we can argue that he handled it so well that it maybe solidified it even more




“ To you my king, do not worry about the loss of your crown in case of defeats. It doesn’t matter, because if your title depends on victory or defeat ....you've never been a king! “






" An old man said that if you want to measure the character of a man, you got to see how he conduct himself when he is, or he is not ........the one who holds the sword."









April, 22th 2012: after 19 years of invincibilityYAKHYA DIOP, said YEKINI, the biggest champion of Senegalese wrestling, is defeated for the first time by the challenger BALLA GAYE 2
 Senegalese wrestling is a very popular traditional sport in Senegal, especially in the Sine-Saloum and Casamance regions. It is also practiced in The Gambia. A contact sport, Senegalese wrestling also includes boxing, hence the name "fight with a strike". The wrestler can both kick and use melee to defeat his opponent.
The cultural dimension and the tradition is extrêmely important in Senegalese wrestling and manifests itself with many mystical rituals or songs to pump up the wrestlers. before and after the fight. All this is followed by ceremonies . A mystical fight takes place between the marabouts accompanying the athletes in the arena of the competition and supposed to give with their grey-grey (talisman). Senegalese wrestling has become a professional sport that attracts more and more young athletes and spectators. The wrestlers are organized in groups directed by the National Wrestling Management Committee commonly known as NMC.
Traditionally, the first fights took place after the rainy season and pitted wrestlers from surrounding villages against each other in championships called mbaapat. The winner of the tournament could win cattle, grain and other assets with him.
Yekini("King of The Arenas") is the nickname of Yakhya Diop, who is considered the greatest senegalese wrestler of the last 20 years. Several times African champion of unhitting wrestling, Yékini, has chosen this nickname, in reference to the African football champion Of Nigeria, Rashidi Yekini,
All started for YEKINI in 1992, during a traditional wrestling tournament in JOAL. A great champion who was not from the land was taking down all opponents one after another. It was unacceptable for the young YEKINI who challenged him, and surprisingly beat him. the spectators who attended this tournament persuaded him to make a career in wrestling. The stature of The Child of Bassoul is made for that sport: 1m95 for 135 kilos of muscle . From 1992 to 1997, he confirmed that it was a good choice as he kept winning against well known champions like the , Dame Gakou, Tombé Sène, Bassirou Sarr de Soumb and others.
His reputation arrives til Amadou Katy Diop, a great coach. who convinced him to join Ndakaru school he had just created.
In 1997, YEKINI entered the fight with a strike. He started biw convincing winnings then he continued his winning streak, in 1999, by beating Mohamed Ali, a huge name in the world of wrestliing in just few minutes.

From there, Yekini destroyed all the wrestlers of his generation. Bombardier, Khadim Ndiaye, "the Butcher of Sunday", Baye Fall....etc,. For 15 years YEKINI will dominate the Senegalese fight head and shoulders. Even the named TYSON couldn't beat him. Thus, after 15 years of career, Yékini had not yet conceded a single defeat.
Til his meeting with a young fella named BALLA GAYE 2....
On April 25, 2012, Balla Gaye 2 will forever mark the history of the struggle for inflicting the first defeat of his career on the invincible YEKINI, The Arena has held its breath. "Lokho demna Guémigne", for the first time, Yekini will hear "Mougneul" because of this "impertinent" Balla Gaye 2 who almost taught him how to fight on this day in April 2012.
Omar Sakho was born on 4 December 1985 in .the father of Balla Gaye, Double Less, whose real name is Mamadou Sakho, himself has long prevailed in Senegalese arenas. African champion of Greco-Roman wrestling, several times crowned champion of Senegal judo, and vice champion of Africa, he practiced for many years boxing. His performances at the African and Olympic Games earned him a 6th place in his category at the Olympic Games.

At the age of 15, young Omar was so obsessed with wrestling that he ended up joining the Balla Gaye wrestling school, named after a former great champion of the Senegalese arena who is at the same time the director and coach. Omar Sakho became Balla Gaye 2.
Balla Gaye 2 worked in total anonymity for years under the guidance of his namesake to acquire everything a champion needs to reach the top. To do this, you had to go through the mbapatt sessions. The "mbapatt" is a simple wrestling gala without a hit that usually takes place at night. During his sessions, we sometimes have to face a dozen wrestlers.

Finally, the Balla Gaye 2 camp decided to face Ndakaru. The son of Double Less had far more advantages to shoot in a fight against Yekini than worries to be made. Balla Gaye 2 had nothing to lose when facing the King of The Arenas, a talented and experienced athlete invincible.
Yekini behaved with a lot of class and fair play after his defeat. When told that he probably made mistakes he answered roughly saying BALLA GAYE 2 deserved his victory.

"I'm a human being like everyone else. Error is human. You can be wrong in communication or behaviour. I was wrong in communication, like it happens to everyone. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't be talking like that."
Yekini's record, "The King of Arenas" is second to none and he has been designated in 2010 best wrestler of the fiftieth anniversary (1960-2010).
YEKINI behaved himself like a champion even in defeat...even more in defeat !
To know more about the subject:
African Press Agency photos from 10 June 2007 Yekini vs Balla Beye rematch. (in French)
Yékini, la légende vivante de la lutte sénégalaise. Le lutteur invaincu depuis neuf ans (interview by David Cadasse, 17 February 2006) (in French)
Yekini, incontestable roi de l’arène, Photo essay and report on the hype surrounding the 2006 Tyson fight. (in French)
Yékini: La classe et l'efficacité !, Walfadjri (Dakar), 2006. (in French)
Babacar m'Baye (2013). "Verbal and Acrobatic Strategies in Senegalese Wolof Wrestling". Storytelling, Self, Society. :