Gwalior, June 6: Young boys and girls at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh showcased the traditional form of gymnastics popularly known as ' Malkhamb' at a state level competition leaving the audience awestruck.
Participants from six states participated in the competition and people in large numbers thronged the venue to witness their gymnastic skills. They included national level champions.
"My coach has been teaching me for many years now. I worked very hard and today I am a national champion. I have demonstrated my skills in Germany and Czech Republic. I have taught this to the children living there. I am a national level gold medalist," said Poonam, a participant.
'Malkhamb' is a combination of traditional Indian gymnastic and martial arts and can be traced back to the 12th century. For centuries, the sport lay dormant but is regaining popularity in the country.
The audience appreciated the effort of 'Malkhamb' Association to revive this forgotten traditional Indian sport.
"Our aim is to develop ' Malkhamb' in our country and make it popular in villages as well. It is a traditional game of India and its development was put on hold for sometime. Yashodhara Raje Scindia supported its development. I am sure, we will receive recognition from Indian Olympics very soon," said Dr. Bamshankar Joshi, President, Malkhamb Association, Madhya Pradesh.
Legend has it that Lord Hanuman pioneered this sport of climbing a pole and balancing on it and it is known as 'Malkhamb'.
This ancient sport form in Maharashtra was given a contemporary feel in the eighteenth century. Dada Balambhat Deodhar has been the principal exponent of 'Malkhamb'.