Dinesh Manhotra Tribune News Service
Jammu, June 28
Buoyed by the response of the corporate world, the Wrestling Federation of India has decided to organise the Indian Wrestling Premier League, on the pattern of the IPL in cricket, to popularise the sport.
Moscow World Wrestling Championship gold medallist Sushil Kumar, who was here to attend the National Wrestling Championship, said that this traditional Indian sport had gradually become popular among the masses and the corporate world was coming forward to sponsor it. “One corporate group has already announced they will sponsor the Wrestling Premier League to give further boost to the game,” Sushil said and added that elections of wrestlers as office-bearers of the federation has given further impetus to the efforts to popularise this game.
Former wrestlers have become office-bearers of WFI for first time. Dushyant Sharma of Jammu & Kashmir is the president, Raj Singh is secretary and Prem Nath is treasurer. All the top officials are former wrestlers of international repute. Sushil said that their first target was to ensure that Indian wrestlers would qualify in all the seven freestyle events in the next Olympic Games.
“It is too early to say how many medals Indian wrestlers would get in the next Olympic Games but we are confident that our performance would improve,” the FILA gold medalist said. “The federation has already deputed foreign coaches to train the wrestlers for the Games,” he said and exuded confidence that Indian wrestlers would improve their performances on the international stage.
Mentioning the lifting of the Junior Asian Championship by Indian wrestlers, Sushil said that it was just a beginning. “For the first time, Indian wrestlers have lifted this championship and in the days to come such performances would be repeated in other contests also,” he said.
Newly-elected WFI president Sharma said that they have formulated a comprehensive plan to further popularise wrestling and to provide all facilities to the wrestlers. “Deployment of foreign coaches is the first step in this direction,” he said and added that in the days to come, WFI would organise events at different levels to provide opportunities to the wrestlers.
Detailing the coming events, Sharma said that Wrestling Premier League would be held during the month of November and December this year, in seven weight categories of men’s freestyle and women’s wrestling.