By K Shivakumar / ENS
India’s performance in wrestling at the recently concluded London Olympics 2012 has created a new history.
Twenty nineyear- old Haryana wrestler Sushil Kumar has become the only Indian to win backto- back medals at the Olympics.
This prospect has raised the hopes of revival of wrestling in Old Mysore region also among the youths.
Sushil Kumar, along with another wrestler, Yogeshwar Dutt, who won silver and bronze medals in different categories in the Olympics respectively, have become the poster boys of many budding wrestlers who are hit by lack of patronage, facilities and are forced to practice in Mysore Garadis, most of which are in a dilapidated condition.
Doddagaradi (a traditional wrestling centre) at Ashokapuram, which had more than 200 wrestlers in 1960s, today has less than 20 wrestlers who regularly practice, said Puttaswamy, a coach and an 80-year-old wrestler.
Despite these shortcomings, Mysorean Shanker Chakravarthy and Lokesh, won prizes at national wrestling competition in free style category in the past.
The lack of support has put the Garadis in trouble and most of them are not functioning.
Today, there less than 200 wrestlers are practising free style in mud in 15 Garadis in city.
Some youths practice in Greeco- Roman style as it is recognised by the Olympic Association and the international bodies.
Srinivasanna Garadi on Benki Nawab Road and Hattujanara Garadi at Ittigegud, which are more than 150 years old, have been renovated and upgraded.
Superintendent of Police Rama Subba was instrumental in realising these works.
However, there is no support from corporate companies and industries to revive these Garadis.
Meanwhile, Wrestling Coach the University of Mysore Manjappa is training more than 30 wrestlers in Greeco-Roman style and he is also conducting camps.
Ramya, a wrestler from the city, has won inter-university and National Junior Wrestling Champhionships.
The Sports Authority is providing assistance for the training of children below 11 years in wrestling at Chamundi Vihar Stadium.
Deepak Kiran, a free style wrestler who has won prizes in the in 84 kg category at the university level, said, “Sushil Kumar’s performance is a great inspiration to sportsmen from poor background.
When he can create history with hard work, why can’t we follow his foot steps?” Sport Journalist Murali said, “The government should start an exclusive wrestling school with best facilities in Mysore.
The City Corporation and the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) should provide two per cent cess to revive the Garadis with best facilities to groom pehalwans.
” Govindaraju, a wrestler, said, “Our youths cannot take part at international level unless better infrastructure and coaching from professionals are provided to them.
” He felt that the recent show of wrestlers in Olympics has increased the hope among the budding wrestlers.
THOSE WERE THE GOLDEN DAYS
Earlier, Mysore had more than 200 Garadis. Wrestling was patronised by the Mysore royal family for more than three centuries.
During their world famous Dasara, the Nada Kusti, a free style wrestling, had received an overwhelming response from people in both urban and rural areas as it was a recreation sports.
Large crowds were gathering to cheer up Pehalwans. The royal family was organising wrestling matches and tournaments at other times too.
However, after the abolition of privy purse given to the kings, the wrestlers suffered due to lack of patronage.
The interest about this sport also came down among the wrestlers too as the wrestling was confined to Dasara celebrations and only a few competitions were held once in a while.