Indian wrestlers have been steadily putting up splendid performances on the mat and have been winning laurels for the country at prestigious international events. Strikingly, in the past few years, its Haryana who has been shouldering the responsibility of churning out the best wrestlers from the country. In order to pump up their spirits, the government has been showering the wrestlers with huge cash rewards after winning medals at top international events. So, on one hand, we have Haryana who is setting examples for other states, on the other we have Maharashtra, who has miserably failed to support their star wrestlers.
After Khashaba Jadhav, who won bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, not many wrestlers have made it to the top level in the state. And the root cause of it can be traced in a recent event were their champion wrestlers were treated like trash, that too, immediately after winning medals in National Wrestling Championships.
In a shameful incident, half of the group out of 20 wrestlers (men and women) who represented the state in the senior National Wrestling Championships at Gonda, UP, faced harrowing time while returning back from the tournament. The players faced a very uncomfortable journey in the Faizabad-Manmad train they did not have seat reservations.
Speaking to Midday correspondent, Maharashtra women’s team coach Sandhya Panbude said, “It was a terrible experience. I am short of words to describe the situation in which my girls and me completed our journey. Someone had to take responsibility and confirm our reservations, but sadly there was no one who helped. You cannot run away from responsibility by just giving tickets to the players.
“Men’s team coach Sambhaji Pawar had a reservation, but they did not turn up to help us during the journey and all other MKP officials travelled by air” added Panbude.
While the Maharashtra wrestlers struggled while travelling as they spent their time near toilets Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medalist Rahul Aware, who won the gold for Railways in the 61kg category at Gonda, and a few of his teammates who work with railways helped the fellow wrestlers as they had reserved seats.
“How can you expect your medal winners or wrestlers who are representing your state undertake a 36-hour long journey without any reservation? As a few us work for the Railways, we had reservations and accommodated a few wrestlers. But it is the responsibility of the MKP. They must provide facilities to wrestlers before and after competitions,” added Aware.