October 6, 2022

On the not too long ago concluded Nationwide Championships in Jalandhar final week, Amit Dahiya, a former Olympian, gained the gold medal within the 65 kg class. As a substitute of his native state Haryana, Dahiya was representing Jharkhand.

One other Chhatarsaal stadium wrestler Naveen, who gained the gold in 70 kg for Jharkhand, additionally hails from Haryana. The 2 gold medals and a bronze in 86 kg propelled the state to the fifth place within the crew rankings. The primary three positions had been claimed by Railways, Providers and Haryana. However the Railways and Providers squads had been additionally made up largely of wrestlers from Haryana.

Within the closing depend, 32 out of the 40 medals in males’s freestyle went to wrestlers from Haryana. Not simply freestyle, even in Greco-Roman and girls’s wrestling, Haryana wrestlers gained 19 and 30 medals out of 40 respectively. The groups which completed within the prime three finally 12 months’s championships are allowed to discipline two groups – A and B – on the subsequent 12 months’s event.

However with the variety of wrestlers rising in Haryana, those that fail to make the groups within the state, Railways or Providers, switch to completely different states to win a ticket to the Nationwide Championships.

Normally, the third-string Haryana wrestlers are adequate to beat the most effective wrestlers from Maharashtra, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and even Uttar Pradesh.

Given how in style wrestling is in India, Haryana’s domination raises a easy query: What are the opposite states doing?


Because the begin of this 12 months, Sachin Giri of UP has competed in simply two tournaments – the state and nationwide championships. That accounts for a complete of six bouts for him in the entire 12 months.

“A Haryana wrestler shall be competing for 20 days a 12 months,” former coach of Indian Greco-Roman crew Kuldeep Singh mentioned. “That’s round 60 bouts in a 12 months. That is excluding the mud dangals they go to. Examine this to a wrestler who’s on the mat for simply two days.”

The distinction within the variety of aggressive bouts is a serious concern in states like UP, Rajasthan, Punjab and even Delhi. Whereas male wrestlers from Delhi and western UP journey to Haryana to participate in dangals, feminine wrestlers seldom do this.

Panipat native Nisha Dahiya, who was below a four-year dope ban till September this 12 months, nonetheless competed towards ladies in dangals round Haryana. The identical ladies wrestled her on the Nationwide Championships the place Dahiya gained the gold medal within the 65 kg class.

“If I put a woman from Madhya Pradesh in entrance of a crowd of 1000 folks, she could have competitors worry,” former India ladies’s coach Kripa Shankar Bishnoi mentioned. “Haryana wrestlers deal with these sorts of crowds each day. They win and lose in entrance of big crowds and don’t have any worry.”

The extent of competitors to get into the state groups can also be very excessive.

“It’s like a mini-national competitors. You win Haryana, you’ll be able to win the nationwide title,” Singh mentioned. “You might be wrestling the most effective wrestlers of the nation each day. You might be certain to get higher.”

Punjab suffers from the dearth of competitors regardless of internet hosting the best variety of mud dangals in India.

“Punjab wrestling is completed due to the federation,” former wrestler Palwinder Singh Cheema mentioned. “The state doesn’t have wrestlers to compete towards one another. Districts should not have mats so the place will wrestlers prepare. For those who should not have three to 4 good wrestlers in a single class, there isn’t a manner you will get higher.”

Rewards and returns

Former Punjab Police Director Common of Police Mehal Singh Bhullar was credited to deliver a sporting revolution within the Punjab Police when he was transferred to Punjab Armed Police academy, Jalandhar. In 1996, he allowed wrestlers to hitch Punjab police by means of the sports activities quota. Wrestlers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and even Mizoram acquired inducted into the Punjab police ranks.

Taking a cue from Punjab’s recruitment drive, the Haryana authorities additionally determined to permit it’s wrestlers to hitch Haryana Police. The Bhupender Singh Hooda-led Congress authorities opened the way in which and in addition introduced money awards for medal-winning sportspersons.

“Near 70 % Punjab Police personnel from 1996 to 2005 are Haryana wrestlers,” Kuldeep Singh mentioned. “Haryana wrestlers regarded for jobs within the Military earlier than that. Now, they’d their very own state giving them jobs.”

Wrestlers, boxers and athletes proceed to be employed by Haryana police and even by different departments of the federal government. Different states, nonetheless, have didn’t implement this.

“UP doesn’t have sports activities quota in authorities jobs,” Ravinder Mishra, a coach from UP employed with Railways, mentioned. “Most UP wrestlers are employed with Railways. Nationwide medallists had been thought of for Group D recruitment which has now stopped.”

In states that are slowly developing in wrestling, Himachal Pradesh for instance, the reward is low-hanging fruit.

“The eligibility to use for presidency jobs in HP by way of sports activities quota is participation in three nationwide championships,” HP coach Vivek Thakur mentioned. “Wrestlers go, get pinned three years in a row and nonetheless get a job. Do you assume they may purpose for medals?”

Rani from HP, nonetheless, is an exception. An assistant sub-inspector with Himachal Pradesh police, Rani was recruited as a constable after she gained her first medal at Nationwide Championships. However she is a judo participant and has represented India at worldwide competitions which led to her promotion.

However what about Punjab which continues to provide wrestlers good jobs within the police division?

“The employed persons are from Haryana,” Cheema mentioned. “They don’t care about what Punjab wrestlers are doing. Home competitions usually are not sturdy both and no wrestlers are developing.”

Cheema was the final heavyweight wrestler from India to win a medal at Asian Video games. It took 18 years for an Indian wrestler to win a junior world title since Cheema’s in 2001.

Mud dangals nonetheless stay Punjab wrestlers’ go-to competitions the place they’ll earn wholesome cash and never depend on authorities jobs for survival.

It’s an analogous case in Maharashtra. Vijay Chaudhary, who has by no means wrestled on the mat, is a three-time Maharashtra Kesari and is a Deputy Superintendent of Police, due to his wins in dangals.

“It’s only one pocket of Maharashtra which has wrestling,” Bishnoi mentioned. “Do you assume a poor wrestler can afford to journey from a giant Maharashtra state to journey and take part in dangals?”

Not simply wrestlers, mother and father in Haryana journey kilometres and typically to a different state with their children, largely ladies, for competitions. Kiran Godara who represented India on the World Championships in September is accompanied by her father to all competitions in India.

“Even after they attain the highest stage, mother and father are dedicated to their progress,” Singh mentioned. “Dad and mom deliver meals, milk and journey kilometres for that. People who find themselves not associated to wrestling are enthusiastic about wrestling.”

Jaan jhok dente hai wrestler ke profession mein (They dedicate their lives in a bid to make the wrestler’s profession),” Bishnoi mentioned. “Children turn out to be extra accountable and that’s the way you develop.”

A wrestler’s development can also be linked to the leveling of teaching she or he receives. Whereas different states have struggled to seek out good coaches, Haryana has managed to unearth good coaches on a constant foundation.

“Himachal has one Sports activities Authority of India coach,” Thakur mentioned. “If individuals who run academies usually are not up to date or usually are not the most effective, it isn’t the most effective scenario.”

In Madhya Pradesh, there may be one other downside that Bishnoi lists. “There are a number of coaches however a lot of the are on a contract foundation. They’re there solely when a giant official visits, they handle the preparations.”

In a special time, khalifas (coach) had been extra centered on producing good wrestlers for exhibiting their power. However wrestling in jap UP and past… in Bihar, West Bengal and even the North East has seen centres proceed regardless of poor outcomes.

Manipur, a hub of sturdy weightlifters and boxers, was as soon as a ladies wrestling powerhouse as properly. It gained three straight nationwide titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000 earlier than Haryana started its rise.

The shortage of competitors, rewards and even coaching centres noticed the downfall of the game. Moreover, the state federations failed to assist the wrestlers. The wrestlers from stronger centres in Haryana, Delhi and western UP took No Objection Certificates and wrestled for these states.

Within the close to future, the development seems unlikely to vary. Out of the ten weight classes on the Nationals, eight gold medallists in ladies’s wrestling had been from Haryana, eight in males’s freestyle and 7 in Greco-Roman.

Although wrestlers from Punjab, UP, Karnataka gained gold medals, it was a type of uncommon situations that repeats itself in Indian wrestling.

“It would take round 20 years for different states to meet up with them,” Thakur mentioned. “That’s in the event that they proceed their dedication to the game. Haryana are manner forward. Even when they’re opening a personal centre, the mat is the very first thing they purchase.”

“If the Haryana authorities doesn’t allow you to, then the village panchayat will,” he mentioned. “If it doesn’t, then relations will. Dad and mom will promote land. The one purpose is to make the child a sportsperson. Different states are aimless.”

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