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Aug 6, 2011

British wrestlers add muscle to Katra meet

The Tribune
Katra, August 5
The Mission Dosti International Indo-Pak Dangal, organised every year during Navratra Festival at Katra, the base camp of the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, is set to become a truly international triangular competition this year with participation of the British wrestlers for the first time in this biggest wrestling event of Jammu & Kashmir.

Shiv Kumar Sharma, president, J&K Indian Style Wrestling Association and Member J&K Sports Council, confirmed this to The Tribune. “We have received confirmation about participation of three British wrestlers in the event,” he said. “We hope that their participation gives a boost to our efforts of making this event truly global in the coming years.”

Adding to its stature of an international event will be the increased prize money of rupees one lakh this time for the winner. Earlier the winner used to get Rs. 51,000 along with traditional Gurj and Patta. The event will be held on the traditional mud akhara at Vivekananda Stadium, Katra.

The event attracts roughly 30,000 spectators, but the organisers expect the number to increase this time. Sharma said that besides Pakistan, wrestlers from northern states of India including J&K, UP, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh would participate.

Besides contributions by the local traders and general public, the one day competition is funded by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, J&K Tourism and the Municipal Committee, Katra. Though the event originated as a local dangal in 1983 at a cost of Rs. 15,000, it became part of the annual Navratra Festival in 2005 and acquired its present name.

It is a measure of its increasing status that the estimated cost of organising it has increased to Rs. 10 lakh.

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