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Olympic snub to India’s old sport

The scrapping of wrestling, one of the handful of sports that India has made a mark in, from the 2020 Olympics comes as a rude jolt to not just us Indians, who were gradually enthused into a dynamic culture of sports other than the usual suspects of cricket and football, especially following the spectacular performances of Indian grapplers in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, but also to Japan, Russia or Iran, who have displayed scintillating talent on the world stage. Wrestling is one of the oldest sports practiced in India and has developed at a tangent to the Greco-Roman style more prevalent in the West. One of the founding sports, wrestling has been part of the Ancient Olympics in Greece since they were first introduced in 708 BC, with competitions happening for variously styled and ruled games. The sport was reintroduced when the modern Olympic games were revived in 1896, significantly in Athens, as a nod to the game’s long history spread over two millennia.

The IOC must understand that wrestling cannot be compared to relatively modern games such as baseball, softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu, with which it will be competing for a possible slot in the 2020 Games. Wrestling not only has been an integral component of Olympics from its inception, but also, it signifies the hopes of a whole generation of budding wrestlers in countries like India. After Sushil Kumar’s Bronze victory in 2008 Beijing Games, swiftly followed by a Silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics (along with Yogeshwar Dutt’s Bronze in the same Games ), wrestling as a sport has been granted a fresh lease of life and has managed to ignite the passions of the Indian millions, who have metamorphosed from an army of reluctant enthusiasts (but for big league sports) to a human universe of sport connoisseurs, who have taken to the reinvigorated culture like bees to flowers. Wrestling schools have cropped up in major cities and kushti has become synonymous with national pride. India has been performing well at venues like the Commonwealth or Asian Games . It will be a huge setback to this budding culture of gamesmanship that India has only woken up to, as the aspirations of many will be nipped in the bud.
MPost

MPost

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