Wrestling in India and the Pro-Wrestling League

By | January 1, 2018

WRESTLING, the sport, is almost as old as the human civilization. As a competitive sport, it had been contested at the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC. When the modern Olympics resumed in Athens in 1896, wrestling became a focus of the Games. Since 1900, it became an integral part of Olympic Games.

India too, has a rich tradition in wrestling. Since time immemorial it was a popular sport among the commons in the villages. Unlike the modern sport, the ‘Dangals’ then were organised in sand ‘akharas’. Thousands of people would gather around the ‘akhara’ and egg on the matmen. After the bout, the winner would go around the crowd and people would offer him cash as a reward for his victory.

The Sport in India has a mythological connect too. Greek Gods, too, are depicted as keen wrestlers.

Name of Gama Pehlwan is inscribed in the folklore of Indian wrestling. But when K D Jadhav secured a bronze in Helsinki Games – India’s first individual Olympic medal – the sport got a boost.

Following Jadhav’s footsteps, several Indian wrestlers were knocking on the doorstep of Olympic glory. But despite their best effort by the likes of Ved Prakash, Sudesh, and Premanth among others, an Olympic medal eluded them.

Then came Sushil Kumar at 2008 Beijing Games – his bronze there turned around the scene of wrestling in India. Wrestling emerged as a popular sport and Sushil its best Brand Ambassador. His silver in the next Games in London and also a bronze for YogeshwarDutt acted as the perfect icing on the cake.

Young Amit, Bajrang and many others now inspired by these heroes were determined to keep up the tradition at the next Olympic Games in Rio. But it was Sakshi Malik who got the medal. In the wake of Sushil and Yogeshwar’s brilliance, young women wrestlers are also performing exceedingly well. Geeta, Babita, Vinesh are on the right course even as Alka Tomar and Geetika Jakhar have already performed well. Sakshi Malik has undoubtedly returned with glorious results adding an Olympic medal to India’s medal standing.

The brilliance of these matpersons has set up the stage for the big league. On the mat, India has emerged as a power to reckon with.

Courtesy: The Pro-Wrestling League 2018 is the third edition. The League started in 2015. The only South Indian Franchise Bangalore Yodhas did not take part after the 2015 league.