Alabama native competing for gold in sumo wrestling at World Games
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Athletes from all over the world are in the Magic City to compete in The World Games.
Andrew Roden is one of a handful of people from Alabama competing in the games.
When Roden first saw a World Game’s sign in Birmingham two years ago, it got the former collegiate wrestler thinking about sumo wrestling.
“I start Googling and watching some YouTube videos and stuff like that and as I start watching and learning about it, I realized that you know I’d be pretty good at this if I got back into shape and started training,” Roden said.
And that’s exactly what he did. The Guntersville native got to work and trained for sumo. It didn’t take him long to dominate the competition around the country.
“Went to my first tournament in about September 2020, went 10 and 0 and beat two defending national champions and two years later here we are,” Roden said.
The 34-year-old, 253-pound middleweight is now ready for the World Games. He’s going for the gold this weekend.
“That’s the only option. If you’re not going for gold, why are you even showing up? I’m ready. I know its going to be a dog fight. I don’t say that thinking I’m taking anything easy. It’s the 16 best sumo wrestlers in the world,” Roden said.
You may think of sumo has a bunch of big men hitting their bellies. Roden says there’s a lot more to it than that.
“I spent 45 minutes every day stretching and working on mobility. Nutrition is another important aspect. I make sure my nutrition is just right everyday so that I can maximize my workout,” Roden said.
Roden claims to be the only sumo wrestler in Alabama. He’s hoping his short journey to success will inspire others to take up the sport he loves and he’s thrilled to compete in his home state.
“Everybody in Alabama is real supportive. Everybody in Alabama loves to see one of their own be successful so it really means a lot,” Roden added.
Roden has the nickname “Stonewall” because he’s a tough competitor. He won the U.S. National Championship in 2021 as well as the North American title which qualified him for the World games. He competes this weekend for the gold.
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