Back home,wrestling’s new poster boys soak in the stardom

Bajrang and Amit Kumar,the bronze and silver medalists at the World championships in Badapest,returned to a hero’s welcome

Written by Vinayak Padmadeo | New Delhi | Published: September 21, 2013 3:19 am

Bajrang and Amit Kumar,the bronze and silver medalists at the World championships in Badapest,returned to a hero’s welcome on Friday morning to the Chhatrasal Stadium,with 200 trainees present to welcome the sport’s latest and youngest poster boys.

Coach Mahabali Satpal gave a brief talk extolling the virtues of the two young wrestlers before declaring what has become a tradition on occasions like these — a day off from training to all the wrestlers. “No training today,” Satpal said amid cheers. “We need to get dholwallas and all of us should enjoy. Nacho jasan manao aaj.”

Both Bajrang and Amit distinctly remember such previous holidays when they stood among the groups of trainees and cheered as Sushil Kumar was felicitated at the Chhatrasal Stadium after bagging bronze at the Beijing Games and also after his gold-medal winning performance at the 2010 World Championship.

“Like them,” Bajrang says pointing to some 13-year-olds,“We were happy to celebrate those important dates.”

Bajrang’s bronze has made him a star pehelwanji among the trainees. His juniors make a beeline to touch his feet for blessings. Only 19,the youngest member of the senior men’s wrestling team had arrived.

“All of us have been raised with this principle to respect seniors. I don’t mind when they do touch my feet. We do it too to our seniors too,” Bajrang says.

At the Indira Gandhi International airport too,on arrival,both Bajrang and Amit,20,received a grand welcome. While Amit,who hails from Nahari,Sonepat,had already become a known name after qualifying for the London Olympics,for Bajrang it was a maiden tryst with stardom.

So Friday was the day for Bajrang and those from his village Khundan to soak in his success. “Bajrang’s performance easily dwarfs any other in the entire Jhajjar district forget his village,” says Anil Mann,one of the associate coaches from the Chhatrasal Stadium.

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