Ludhiana, Sept 6 : India's bronze medal win in wrestling at the Beijing Olympics has provided the much needed boost to budding sportsmen, especially in Punjab.
In Punjab, wrestling is a popular sport in the villages, and Sushil Kumar's bronze medal win has prompted wrestlers in villages to do something similar.
Kumar rose from obscurity to achieve sporting glory in the men's 66 kg freestyle category at the Beijing Olympics. He is only the second Indian wrestler after K D Jadhav to win a bronze. Jadhav won it in the 1952 Heisinki Games.
In Punjab, one practitioner of wrestling said he wanted to contest at the international level. During fairs and festivals, wrestling is almost obligatory and is heartily participated in by wrestlers and spectators alike. To prepare for international contests, the Punjab Government has provided wrestling mats at some places, but major rural contests are still fought in mud fields. Punjab's Sports Department picks the best wrestlers and trains them at places like the National Institute of Sports, Patiala. Sukhbir, an organiser of a wrestling competition said: "Youth who come to fairs watch wrestling and develop an interest in it. The present generation is forgetting Punjabi traditions, but such fairs help in keeping these traditional values alive."
Punjab leads in every sphere. People enjoy success in whatever profession they try their hand. The youth should concentrate more on wrestling and keep away from drugs. If Punjab follows its cultural values by promoting mud wrestling at the fairs, it can bring laurels to the country and Punjab through talented wrestlers in international contests. By Karan Kapoor