Naveen: The student of a Greco-Roman guru who conquered freestyle at CWG 2022

Wrestler Naveen Malik’s success at the 2022 Commonwealth Games could see him guru Kuldeep Singh to get rid of the label “Greco-Roman coach”.

Kuldeep expressed his appreciation for his 19-year-old student’s gold medal in the men’s 74kg freestyle category when he greeted the Navy man on his return from Birmingham at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi.

“As he was the head coach of the Indian Greco-Roman team, the tag stayed with him. But the coach is good at teaching both freestyle wrestlers and Greco-Roman wrestlers. what I gained was because of the good training he gave me,” said Naveen. sports star.

Wrestler Naveen (R) and his trainer Kuldeep Singh (L) at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi after the former's return from the Birmingham Games.

Wrestler Naveen (R) and his trainer Kuldeep Singh (L) at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi after the former’s return from the Birmingham Games. | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

“My father traveled 40 km from our village (Pugthala) to Raipur Academy (in Sonipat) every morning to provide milk for me and my elder brother. It was thanks to the sacrifices of my family and the training of my trainer that I achieved this,” added the wrestler.

Naveen is delighted to have won the 74kg gold medal won by Sushil Kumar in 2018. “Sushil Kumar inspired all Indian wrestlers when he won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics. to be in his weight and to get the gold medal he won four years ago,” said Naveen, who followed in the footsteps of his older brother Parveen, a 67-year-old Greco-Roman wrestler. kg, seven years ago.

A bronze medalist at the Asian Championships at 70kg, Naveen surprised everyone by winning the Commonwealth Games Trials at 74kg. The field featured top wrestlers – including Worlds bronze medalist Narsingh Yadav, Asian medalists Amit Dhankar, Gourav Baliyan, Jitender Kumar and cadet world champion Sagar Jaglan – at 74kg and 79kg.

“I had no doubts. I didn’t care about my opponents,” Naveen said.

He was equally confident in Birmingham. “My toughest fight was against Nigerian Ogbonna John. But everyone was looking forward to the final against Pakistan’s Muhammad Tahir because of the India-Pakistan rivalry. I was determined to beat him,” Naveen said.

“Naveen has good movement and is disciplined. He is good both in attack and defense,” Kuldeep said.

Even after his success at the Commonwealth Games, Naveen does not think of a break. He said: “My next goal is the world championships next month. I have to prepare for the tests.

Robert J. King