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Oct 4, 2009

Sunday Wrestling show losing sheen

Vishal Thakur
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, May 15
The Sunday Wrestling show that occupied an important place among sport activities in Dehradun during the past 50 years is slowly losing its charm. For five decades, wrestling in the city has been held under the aegis of ‘Akhara Sheran Samiti’.

Wrestlers from far-off places in Uttar Pradesh like Meerut and Muzaffarnagar and from regiments in the military like the Jat Regiment, Sikh Regiment and Dogra Regiment added to the charm of these wrestling bouts and drew capacity crowds to Parade Ground, the venue of the bouts.

“A capacity crowd of 5,000 people used to come to the Parade Ground to enjoy the wrestling matches irrespective of the scorching sun or pouring rain,” said Mahaveer Sharma, president of ‘Akhara Sheran Samiti’ since 1980 and the man behind the event.

Even the famous Indian wrestler, Chandagi Ram, had once visited Dehradun to witness these bouts. Wrestling in Dehradun began immediately after attaining freedom. For the initial three years, it was organised at Race Course but was later shifted to Parade Ground.

After the formation of the state, the popularity of Sunday Wrestling has dwindled significantly because of the absence of army wrestlers who have stopped participating after Dehradun was made the capital. The craze for wrestling is not over in the nearby areas like Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut. But the samiti has not been able to organise matches on a regular basis.

“For the past three weeks, our show at Parade Ground has been disturbed. The ground has become the central place for election rallies and discourses,” added Mahaveer Sharma.

“If you want a reputed wrestler to participate, you need to spend a good sum of money which we cannot afford,” said Mahaveer, who has been seeking financial assistance from various organisations but to no avail. There is no entry fee for the tournament.

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