25 years ago, a wrestler from Schönenbuch won his first wreath. The 42-year-old is now ending a dazzling career at the Basel-Stadt Schwingertag.
Come on, Andreas Henzer wanted to do this several times. 2018 would be the perfect year for the Baselbieter Kantonale in Schönenbuch. Where the 42-year-old spent practically his entire life. There, along with his brother Michael, who retired from wrestling in 2004, he popularized the national sport over the years.
But then, a few days before the dernier, the leg snaps. And the end of the season. Resigning without a proper farewell does not fit in with the plans of the gymnast’s wrestler. So he gets through rehab, goes back to sawdust. But the next brake comes: Corona. The butcher again asks himself whether he should still subject his body to the burdens of national sport. Because: The back has long been Henzer’s problem area. This pain is also with him this year. He broke his neck on May 1-Schwinget in Oberdorf, “I had to bite even more since then.”
“Bite”, Henzer has always had to do in his career. Yes, it became his trademark. Hardly anyone else can master a defensive swing as well as he can. At the Solothurn Canton Festival in Nunningen on Sunday, he wins one course and “delivers” the other five, so there is no winner. If the judges of the standings want to slow down a good wrestler, they oppose it with a Basel bidder. For most, there is nothing to be gained from “Henzer on the Best Days”. Henzer is proud of this.
A faultless plate for Unspunnen and Kilchberger
In the most successful seasons he lost “two, maximum three” gears. For him, in 2022 it is about “not showing the weakness of an old man towards young people.” This fighting spirit is deeply embedded in Henzer. He still raves about his two stakes in the Unspunnen Festival and the Kilchberger Schwinget, where he has not lost a single match. There are also six stakes in federal wrestling festivals.
But now the drive is definitely over. As “Baselstädter” is one of his favorite festivals, he chose this place to say goodbye. Rivaling Pratteln again is not an option for him, even if it were a home festival with a special twist. “I don’t want to take the boys’ place, I want to accompany them.” The technical director of the Binningen wrestling club has been doing this for a long time. And he is proud that with the Odermatt brothers, for example, talents are growing again, “with whom we will have a great time.”
One thing is for sure: Henzer will somehow remain tied to wrestling. The sport that has shaped him so much in the last 30 years. There are now 70 wreaths he has collected. “Nice number,” says Henzer. His most important success dates back to 2007 when the Baselbieter Kantonale in Wintersingen won. However, he never got into the ranks at federal level, but other things are important to him: as a non-Swiss citizen, he fights against the wrestling kings Silvio Rüfenacht, Kilian Wenger and Matthias Sempach. It reads well in his hands.
Perhaps the Basel bidder will be able to accomplish another feat at Kleinbasel. But it is more important that he should no longer be “healthy”. According to Henzer, his friends and acquaintances will come to him for the last time after a successful walk. These are the moments Andreas Henzer likes. But it will also miss. “There is sadness about resignation,” says Henzer. But then he reflects on his nearly 43 years and the fact that his sons may be his adversaries. And that he is the third oldest active person after the northeastern Swiss, Stefan Burkhalter (47) and Arnold Forrer (43). “Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t swing at all.”
Dominika Willimann has been BaZ’s sports editor since 2007 and knows regional sport inside out. He is also familiar with the events of FC Basel and has not left the federal wrestling festival since 2007.
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