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Oct 9, 2010

Wrestling Minister Delights Crowd in Mysore

Shankar Bennur, The Hindu
— PHOTO: M.A. Sriram

Friendly tussle:Minister for Mass Education and Public Libraries Revu Naik Belamagi (left) wrestling with ‘Tiger' Balaji to mark the inauguration of Dasara Kusti in Mysore on Friday.

MYSORE: At a time when MLAs from all political parties in the State are busy politicking in the wake of the political turmoil, Minister for Public Libraries and Mass Education Revu Naik Belamagi preferred to flex his muscles in the wrestling ring instead.
Mr. Belamagi, an MLA from Gulbarga who used to be a professional wrestler, inaugurated the Dasara wrestling championship on Friday by jumping into the wrestling arena for a friendly bout with a local wrestler in front of a big crowd at the D. Devaraj Urs Multipurpose Stadium.
The Minister's opponent was the burly ‘Tiger' Balaji, a 51-year-old wrestler from Mysore.

The 72-year-old Minister, who is said to have groomed many youngsters into professional wrestlers in his home district before joining politics, got a loud applause from the crowd when the organisers announced that Mr. Belamagi would open the championship by participating in it.
Mr. Belamagi took off his khadi clothes and wore the loincloth suited for the match. After some warm-up exercises, the Minister entered the ring amid thunderous applause from the spectators. Even at this age, Mr. Belamagi showed great zeal and took on his opponent.
The exhibition match lasted for about five minutes. His participation was aimed at encouraging the youth to preserve sports such as Indian wrestling, which is fast fading from the scene.

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