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Aug 19, 2009
In The Mud Pit
Generations ago, wrestling was a sport for gods and kings: Krishna, Bheem, Zeus, Prometheus… even emperors of ancient Persia played the sport. “Today, of one thousand Mumbai akhadas that flourished 20 years ago, less than 10 remain,” rues ex-champion wrestler and secretary of Samarth Vyayam Mandir, Uday Deshpande. Yet, the 56-year-old Mahatma Phule Akhada thrives, with a record of three Chatrapati award holders, 15 national champions and a throng of regulars – between the age group of 12 to 35, all waiting to be crafted from mud to pehalwaans, under the watchful eye of a large portrait of Lord Hanuman – predictably, the akhada’s only adornment. (READ MORE)