Delhi akhadas wrestle with lack of infrastructure

first_imgNorth Delhi is a hub of akhadas but the traditional sport of wrestling, despite the success India achieved in the game in recent years, is not getting the kind of boost it deserves.There are close to ten akhadas here, including big names like Chhatrasal Stadium, Chandgi Ram and Guru Hanuman akahada, but only the top centres have basic facilities. Rest is still grappling to provide good infrastructure and sound training to the kids who come from adjoining statest — Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.A visit to the smaller centres is an eye-opener. An air conditioned hall is a luxury for these centres where kids still train under tin roofs on mud pits. There are certain akhadas which have somehow managed to purchase a mat but it is lying waste as there is no money to built an air conditioned hall.One such unused mat can be seen at Arjuna awardee Sanjay Pehalwan akhada. The centre lacks good equipment and basic facilities. When Mail Today visited the centre there were few young kids doing squats.”The sport has changed. We need to train these kids on mat. In Delhi, the summers are of eight months and one can’t train under tin sheds. We do not have much support from the government and the federation. Only the big akhadas are getting recognition and facilities,” said coach Jagbir Singh.Jagbir, an international referee, said the akhada is losing youngsters everyday as the facilities are not up to mark.”We do not have local kids here, all of them are from Haryana. As you can see there is no hall and the mat we bought from our own money cannot be used,” he added.advertisementThe scene is worse at Aryavart Vyamsala which is as old as 1968 but is on the verge of closing down. Kids stay under a thatched roof in unhygienic condition.”Today’s generation feels mud-wrestling is a colossal waste of time, an unfashionable option for keeping fit. A large number of akhadas, thus, have turned into gyms where young boys go for weight training,” said one of the wrestlers in the centre.A stone’s throw away is famous Chandgi Ram akhada, which recently got renovated and a fully AC wrestling hall was made for the grapplers.Talking to Mail Today, Jagdish Kaliraman said change is the need of the hour.”To compete with the international wrestlers, we need to update ourselves. Rules have changed, so is wrestling and it is time we adapt so that Indian wrestlers can win more medals at international events,” said Jagdish, son of Chandgi Ram.”The government gave us mat and coaches. But we spent money for an air conditioned hall with modern facilities and other equipment.”The Bharat Kesari emphasised on the improvement of the infrastructure of akhadas. “Wrestling is gaining popularity after the success of bollywood movies and Olympic medals won by Sushil, Yogeshwar and Sakshi. I think the federation (Wrestling Federation of India) need to work more on improving the infrastructure, so that more youngsters (boys and girls) can come and be part of the traditional sport,” he said.When contacted, WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar said the federation is doing every bit to promote the sport. “Whenever, we get to know that some akhada (recognised) want some help, we do our best. We provide them mats,” he said.last_img

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