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May 17, 2010

Indian Wrestlers Grappling for Glory

Greco Roman wrestling is a new sport for most Indian wrestlers. The traditional style of Kushti is extremely popular in many parts of the country, which means there is a steady stream of wrestlers feeding the freestyle pool.

Greco Roman wrestling is largely an imported style, and until recently, had been overshadowed by its traditional Indian counterpart.

If the Greco Roman team at the Senior Asian Wrestling Championship that concluded in the capital on Sunday were out to prove a point, they most certainly did it with a bang. Seven Indian men competed in the seven categories, and the results were impressive. Three medals, one silver and 2 bronze; and no wrestler finishing below fifth place.

This translated into a third place finish in the team championship. Korea finished on top in the team standings with 56 points, and the hosts were tied on 49, with China, but lost out on a second-place finish because the Chinese picked up more gold. Even so, the performance is heartening, and coach Har Gobind Singh is confident of repeating the feat at the Commonwealth and the Asian Games.

Ravinder Singh’s bronze on the final day took India’s tally to seven medals in the championship, two gold, one silver and four bronze. For the coaches, it’s time to get back to the drawing board. Strength is one major concern, the other is the performance of wrestlers in the heavier weights. “The boys in the heavier weights have a problem with their lifting techniques as well as defence. We will work on these facets,” Singh said.

The competition saw a lot of glitches on the organisational front. As a test event for the Commonwealth Games, it may not have been the biggest success, particularly in terms of the behaviour of the security staff. On the wrestling front though, it has put India in a great place ahead of a busy schedule, reaffirmed its positing as an Asian power. All that remains now is to work out the chinks, and take it to the next level.

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