Fueled by Positive Change, Greco-Roman Wrestlers Advance – The New Indian Express
Express news service
BANGALORE: Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Indian acrobatic wrestlers have won medals at all major international sporting events, including the Olympics. However, in the Greco-Roman category, dominated by Eastern European countries, the Indian was not really a contender for the medals.
It wasn’t until the 2010 Commonwealth Games, when India hosted the event and Greco-Roman wrestling was part of the competition, that India had the maximum number of medals (4 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze).
Since then, history has been one of successes and failures with a bronze medal at the 2013 World Wrestling Championships (Sandeep Tulsi Yadav won a bronze medal in the 66kg category) being the only highlight.
But despite a rich culture of wrestling across rural dangals, why is one category doing well and the other not? India’s Greco-Roman head coach Hargobind Singh thinks it has to do with how a wrestler grows up.
âIn India, the Greco-Romans arrived a bit late. So we had a lot of catching up to do. First, it is not the traditional Indian wrestling and the education of a wrestler is still based on freestyle. It is only when they are not doing well at the senior level that they turn to the Greco-Roman.
âBut the problem is in freestyle the emphasis is always on strength and endurance. When you train for that you lose speed, which is bad for the Greco-Roman. why we are not at that level yet, “said Hargobind.
However, over the past couple of years there appears to be an upward trend. Focusing only on Greco-Roman wrestling, training schools were established and were also part of the wrestling competitions in schools.
The Indian Wrestling Federation brought in a foreign trainer for Temo Kasarashvili and the Georgian helped the wrestlers improve their technique. All of these positive changes have started to pay off. India had the best medal total at the Asian Wrestling Championships this year with 3 silver and one bronze.
âThings are moving slowly. Greco-Roman is now at school level and children can learn this discipline from an early age. Now even companies like Tata Motors are helping us. To further encourage the Greco-Roman, I think she should be included in the Pro Wrestling League as well. That way we can play good foreign players and this exposure will help us, âsaid Harpreet Singh, who won a silver medal at the Asian Championships last month.
While the changes have set the stage for good things to come, Hargobind believes it’s only when Greco-Roman wrestlers get the maximum number of Olympic quotas from the World Championships in September that the efforts will be crowned with success. They will have camps in Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan (training-competition) to prepare for the Worlds.
âPreparations are going well for the Worlds. However, we are not far behind the Eastern Europeans in this discipline. Our wrestlers beat the Kazakh wrestlers in the Asian C’ship and if they continue to do well in training I think we can win medals at the world championships and get the maximum quota for the Olympics, âhe said. he declared.