Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kamladi has condoled the death of 1970 Asian Games wrestling champion 'Master' Chandgi Ram, who passed away on Tuesday morning following a cardiac arrest.
"The world of wrestling and, in fact, Indian sport will be poorer by Master Chandgi Ram's absence," Kalmadi said in his condolence message.
"The remarkable thing about Master Chandgi Ram is that he continued to contribute to wrestling way beyond his active career. He encouraged women to take to the sport and set up an akhara in Delhi so that girls could play the sport, driving them to follow their dreams and carve a niche for themselves," Kalmadi said.
Ram, a recipient of the prestigious Arjuna and Padma Shri awards, served as Additional Director of Sports in Haryana and was conferred with the titles of 'Hind Kesari', 'Bharat Kesari', 'Bharat Bhim', 'Rustom-e-Hind' and 'Maha Bharat Kesari'.
The most impressive feat of Ram's international career was the gold in 100 kg category in the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok, where he defeated world champion Amvani Abuifazi of Iran en route the title.
He also represented India in the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
"For a man of his achievements, including the titles of Bharat Kesri and Rustom-E-Hind, Master Chandgi Ram has a genial presence. His stint in the Jat Regiment of the Indian Army and then as a school teacher, coupled with his sense of humour made him a towering figure in Indian wrestling history," the IOA chief said.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also expressed deep sorrow and grief over Ram's demise.
In his condolence message, Hooda said Chandgi Ram was a great wrestler who always kept the Indian tri-colour flying high at international championships.
He said Ram would be long remembered for his contribution to Indian wrestling.