A few days ago, Madhukar Karande had told his son Manik, a 21-year-old wrestler who was headed for a local competition, “I want you to win this.” Throughout the event, Karande, a farmer, cheered on his son, who eventually emerged the winner. Enthused by his son’s win, Karande advised Manik to put in more hard work and prepare for the 60th Senior Category State Championship, scheduled to be held on Friday in Warje, Pune. Hours later, Karande suffered a heart attack and passed away.
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Though he was utterly shaken by his father’s death, Manik didn’t allow the shock and grief to overcome him. Instead, he decided to put in every bit of effort to fulfill his father’s dream, and went on to win the championship.
Manik won the gold medal in the 65-kg mud wrestling category, defeating wrestler Sonaba Gongan.
“I am happy that I won the championship but unfortunately, my father couldn’t see me win,” said the young wrestler. The championship was held at Rameshbhau Wanjale Kridanagari, Warje, and was organised by the Sachin Dodke Krida Pratishthan.
For Manik, preparing for the championship, even as he dealt with the trauma of his father’s death, wasn’t easy, according to his coach Tanaji Patil.
“He was very close to his father and his death left Manik devastated. The only way he could gather himself was through his sport. As his coach and someone who knows his family closely, I knew that his father would passionately encourage Manik. Although I felt bad about doing so, I told him that he had had to participate in the championship, irrespective of whether he won or lost, for his father. I felt that Manik owed it to his father,” said Patil.
He added that three days after his father’s death, Manik managed to reach the wrestling centre for practice, where immersed himself in practice.
“Manik is capable of reaching international levels in wrestling. His wrestling techniques, especially the nikal daav, is unbeatable,” said Patil.
Manik has another goal in his mind now: the Olympics. “That was my father’s ultimate dream for me and I will work hard to fulfill that dream,” he said.