Among the eight wrestlers who have been selected from Maharashtra for the first international beach Kurash championships in China include three girls from Pune—Tejashri Vyavhare, Pooja Dhopeshwar and Rucha Dhopeshwar. Organised by the Chinese Taipei Kurash Federation, the wrestling championship would be held in Teipei, China, from July 20 to 24 and would see the participation of wrestlers from across the globe.
Kurash kushti is a traditional martial art sport that originated from Uzbekistan. The two players display their strength and skill with the objective to throw the opponent on his/her back. All the three Pune wrestlers would be participating for the first time on an international level.
For the family of Pooja (20) and Rucha (16), who are sisters, it’s time for double celebration. “Wrestling is a game which cannot be practiced without a partner. It’s easier for us as we are sisters and are available for each other for practice any time of the day,” says Rucha, who has cleared her Class X Board exam from MIT School. Pooja is pursuing BCA at MIT Senior College.
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“So far, we haven’t got a chance to compete with each other in a real competition because of our age difference,” Rucha adds. The sisters have been learning wrestling at the Sahyadri Judo Academy for several years. They developed interest for the sport due to their mother Rachana, who trains both of them. The selection rounds for Kurash were held in Delhi from June 4 to 6, in which Rucha won Gold and found a ticket to Kurash. “The competitors from other states like Punjab and Haryana were too strong. Though I defeated them, I realised that I need to work on my strength and techniques more,” says Rucha.
Rucha further says that she aims to participate in more international competitions so that she finds a place in the next Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018. In India, Kurash has been included in the school national games last year.
Tejashri’s father, Datta Vyavhare, a businessman, is on cloud nine owing to his daughter’s achievement. “She’s been learning the sport since she was six years old. It’s her first international championship and as a father, I just wish she keeps going ahead in chasing her dream.”
Other selected wrestlers from Maharashtra are Yogesh Untwal (Aurangabad), Ashutosh Lohkare (Mumbai), Shivraj Magdum (Kol-hapur), Farroq Mansoori (Mum-bai) and Purva Mathew (Mumbai).