Indian wrestlers have till date won five Olympic medals. Four of these have been earned in the last three editions. Further, all the winners are from Haryana and Delhi alone. This late flourishing and the unsatisfactory performance of our wrestlers is something not expected as India has deep roots in this sport.
The two big Bollywood movies in 2016- Sultan and Dangal, revolve around the wrestling sport. Dangal is the real-life story of Mahavir Singh Phogat whose two daughters were medal-winning wrestling champions.
In ancient times, a low-caste peasant could become an upper-caste by engaging in martial activities. Kings and emperors hired wrestling champion peasants for their troops.
In the early 20th century, many Indian wrestlers like Ghulam Muhammad and Gobor Guha made it on the International stage.
The first Olympic medal in wrestling was won for India in 1952 by K.D. Jadhav; and the second in 2008. The recent ones are a result of the adoption of modern rules and synthetic mats by our North Indian states. There is some opposition for this Maharashtra.
A mindset change, and support from the private and public sources can help exploit the huge potential of Indian wrestling.
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