Updated: July 17, 2021 7:30:06 am
India’s 57kg wrestler Ravi Kumar has the bell-bottomed, long-limbed bearing of Amitabh Bachchan at 5-foot-7, except his ways on the mat in spandex, are more like the buzzing bumblebee than the bass-baritone. Without crowds creating one right cheery din, expect the coaches’ instructions to pierce through Chiba city right into your TV screens, with a constant drone of ‘Chalaate reh, chalaa, chalaa, Chalaate reh’.
This in India-speak is the encouragement for the snap-downs and heavy hands – the crouched busy forearm press to pull the opponent’s head and neck down, before tipping him into slumping on all-fours. The tall wrestler’s affirming arm-reach helps him break opponents on a continuous-basis as he circles in a hunch, and grinds out dominant holds working for a pin or smattering of points, breaking the rival’s resistance. The ‘chalaa, chalaa’ chant meanwhile gains in decibel even as the side of Ravi’s hand goes on the soft cavity behind the opponent’s neck for a collar tie position, who caves in under the onslaught of the snaps and the heavies.
The chirping of the chalaa, chalaa stops only when Ravi drags his leading leg back poised and his shoulder blades give way to jelly feet. The opponent’s front leg is now primed to be attacked.
Known for his late comebacks after grating down the opponent – tiring him progressively, Ravi doesn’t boast of a spectacular move, just the constant chattering and churning and chewing of rival resolve. To the breathless chants of chalaa-chalaa-chalaa, points accumulate like the unseen slot machines in a casino to the tune of Ka-ching.
BAJRANG’S TANGDI IRANI
Noone knows how the name came about in India. But in the globalised world of Olympic wrestling, expect India’s 65kg grappler Bajrang, to go for the ‘bent leg lace’ – commonly dubbed the ‘turk’ by Americans, but uniquely called ‘Irani’ by Indians, at the ginormous Makuhari Messe arena in Japan, with messe standing for a German trade fair. The move is suitably a testy tangle.
While the dhobi pachchaad (washermans move), bhaarandaaz (gut wrench) and phitale (Yogeshwar’s leg lace) have popped up on highlight reels during Indian medals, the Irani (of which Sushil Kumar remains the most proficient) awaits it’s Olympic Bajrang version.
So the opponent gets turked after being pushed belly down, while trying to crawl out of an ensnaring stranglehold. Typically, Bajrang will straddle the bent right knee, catch the heel, clasp the left shoulder, lock the hamstring and lock the bent limb with his outer leg. A crook around the neck completes the pivot to overturn the opponent on his back by powering the elbow. Quick 2 near fall points can be pocketed from the leg turn to trigger the back exposure.
The mystery of its India-specific annointing as ‘Irani’ can be traced back to the earliest Iranians who travelled to India and wowed the locals with the flip-with-clips move. Mud wrestling rarely or never saw the Irani in earlier years, and despite the term turking (note: lower case verb), the best practitioners around the world remain Iranians – Reza Yazdani most recently, not so much the Turks.
It is said that a good Irani can temporarily stop blood circulation and drive your leg. immobile.
While Bajrang can get clumsy at times grasping the toes (not allowed) and his arms can cling rival legs forcing the referee to meddle, it’s still his trusted go-to for a pin. But look out for the Figure 4 or the unbent both legs basic leg turk, for there’s an Irani around every crook and corner.
Vinesh Phogat. Confident swagger, competent strides. Wrestling’s bread and butter ‘cradle’ (literally rockaby-baby) – the logical progression from her takedowns, sees her get the pins and the big 4 points oftener than most.
While her hip tosses and double leg give her a wider repertoire especially with the increased confidence and power, the Jholi sees an elbow wrapping across the opponent’s neck and the other hand engulf the opposite leg to snap shut into a sort of a cradle grip. The ensuing pin becomes inevitable if the throttling and flip is effected perfectly.
While the strong and powerful Vinesh looks to hoard points, expect the Jholi to be summoned and rock established reputations.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.