Pune-based Lakshya Foundation and Netsurf Communications have extended sponsorship to Ravinder Khatri, the second Indian in more than 10 years to qualify for the Greco-Roman wrestling category at the Rio Olympics 2016. Khatri has qualified for the 85 kg category and is the only Indian along with Hardeep Singh for the category.
Khatri started off as a wrestler in his village akharas back in Bodia Village in Jhajjar District of Haryana. The son of a farmer, and with no wrestling background, he was selected by the Army Sports Institute in Pune during a talent scouting in 2006 at the age of 14.
Khatri’s coach Balwant Singh, who was also present at the event, said, “I am proud that Ravinder has qualified for the Olympics. He has been my student for 10 years and has made me and our institute proud.”
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When asked who he thinks is the biggest challenge at the Rio Olympics, Khatri said, “Ukrainian wrestlers are well-trained and I think they are going to be my biggest challenge at the Olympics.”
Recalling his previous qualifying season in 2012, Khatri added, “I did not qualify in the 2012 Olympics by only 2 points. I decided to make the best of these next four years and now I have reached this mark.”
Khatri won eight bouts and lost two to qualify for the Rio Olympics. His father Jayprakash wanted a wrestler from the family and Khatri says, “I have completed my father’s dream by reaching the Olympics.”
Khatri is a Havildar in the Jat Brigade and was appointed in 2011. He shared his worst period when his family was unable to provide for his expenses for wrestling due to financial woes. “I was in Bahadurgad for my training in 2005 and my family asked me to come back because they weren’t able to provide my expenses. My coach Hawa Singh then sponsored my expenses for the next three months.”
Khatri would be leaving for Poland on June 2 for a month’s training and then to the US. Sujit Jain , Founder and MD of Netsurf Communications, said, “We will sponsor his father’s expenses so that he can see his son at the Olympics.”