Tuesday August 21, 2018
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Wrestling for livelihood: How Chandgi Ram Akhara is helping women to learn, earn and grapple

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Wrestling is at the verge of its obliteration as it lacks support, both socially and economically. Especially for women, to excel in this sport is a herculean task. There are a very few places in this country where women wrestlers are encouraged.

In the hustle bustle of New Delhi, there is one such place which has preserved the game for women wrestlers since 1975. Chandgi Ram Akhara, set up by Guru Chandgi Ram, has opened the door for the women wrestlers in the country to be a part of this sport.

The akhara has served as a platform for many Indian women wrestlers like Neha Rathi (bronze medal winner at Asian games 2012) and Sonika Kaliraman (2003 silver medalist in junior Asian games). When the akhara was opened it was the first to train women wrestlers in the country. Chandgi Ram akhara is not only giving employment to women but is also helping them socially and financially by sending them to participate in different tournaments.

“This is our only source of survival. Because of poor family conditions, I started wrestling after my marriage with an aim to help my family. I believe that women in India are more powerful than foreigners and women wrestlers have bright future in India,” said Reshma.

However, Government apathy has left the akhara in shambles. The akhara gets menial amount of Rs 2000 from the government and an annual endowment from MCD for training.

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Mary Kom Decides To Opt Out Of Asian Games Squad

Instead of Mary, fellow Manipur star Sarjubala Devi will represent India in the women's 51 kilogram category at the Asiad.

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Mary Kom Decides To Opt Out Of Asian Games Squad
Mary Kom Decides To Opt Out Of Asian Games Squad. Flickr

Five-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom has decided to opt out of the Indian boxing squad for the 2018 Asian Games, which was announced here on Friday.

Instead of Mary, fellow Manipur star Sarjubala Devi will represent India in the women’s 51 kilogram category at the Asiad.

“Sarjubala Devi defeated Pinki Rani in the selection trial to take the final spot in the squad. Both the boxers had earned equal points and share of wins in the last two months and the trial was organised to finalize the last name in the squad,” the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said in a statement on Friday.

“Sarjubala Devi dominated in the trial match and won with rather ease to log in her name on the Asian Games roster.”

When contacted by IANS, Mary stated that she is concentrating on winning gold in the 48kg division at the World Championships to be held here in November.

“I opted out myself because there is is no 48 kilogram category at the Asian Games. Right now I am focussed on winning gold at the World Championships in that weight category,” Mary told IANS.

“Also, I have won medals at the Asian Games which include a gold and bronze in the 51kg event. Now I want to give a chance to the upcoming youngsters,” she added.

Replying to query by IANS, the  stressed that the five-time world champion is not in the squad since her preferred weight category is not included at the Asiad.

“She is not excluded. The Asian Games has only three weight categories in women’s boxing (51kg, 57kg and 60kg) where respective players will represent India,” the BFI said.

Apart from Sarjubala, 2016 World Championship silver medalist Sonia Lather (57kg) and Pavitra (60kg) will represent India in the women’s events.

Ms. Universe bollywood actress Susmita Sen and Boxer M C Mary Kom at Guwahati IIT Monday , December 15 ,2013
Ms. Universe bollywood actress Susmita Sen and Boxer M C Mary Kom at Guwahati IIT Monday , December 15 ,2013. flickr

Among the men’s Vikas Krishan (75kg) who has previously won a gold and bronze at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games respectively, will spearhead the Indian challenge.

Reigning Commonwealth Games (CWG) champion Gaurav Solanki (52 Kg), who recently won gold at the Chemistry Cup. also made the cut and will look to emulate his CWG run at the Asian Games.

CWG bronze medallist Mohammad Hussamuddin (56kg) and silver medallist, Amit Panghal (49kg) have also been named in the squad and will hope to shine on their debut at the continental event.

Former CWG champion Manoj Kumar (69Kg), who has struggled with his form over the past several months, will aim to prove himself once again.

Providing depth to the squad will be World Championship bronze medallist Shiva Thapa, who will make his return to the squad after missing out on the Commonwealth Games.

“In the trial held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Friday, CWG silver medallist Manish Kaushik felt short as tThapa stamped his position in the squad,” the BFI statement said.

“Kaushik in the past has twice won against Shiva, but the experienced boxer from Assam looked determined and left the Army pugilist reeling in the middle of the squared ring to earn his berth for the Asiad.”

In the trials for the 64kg weight category, Army boxer Dheeraj defeated Rohit Tokas to book his place in the national squad. Dheeraj is in good form at present and had taken bronze at the 2018 Chemistry Cup.

“In order to keep the selection process transparent, BFI had taken into account performances of all the pugilists from January 2018 with the CWG holding the utmost importance along with performances in the series of international exposure trips that were conducted in the last month alone for the men and women boxers. Along with their international performances the selection committee also accounted their performance in camp, physical status and injury history while finalising the final names,” the federation said.

Also read: Mary Kom aims to win a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics

The 2018 Asian Games will be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 1, with the boxing events starting on August 24. (IANS)