INDIAN WRESTLING will see a lot of action in the coming six months with the third season of Pro Wrestling League apart from trials for the 2018 Commonwealth Games before the games in Australia. While the last three years have seen Rohtak wrestler Satyawrat Kadian giving tough fight to current national champion Mausam Khatri in the 97 kg freestyle category, Kadian, who married Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik earlier this year, will be competing in the 92 kg category in the upcoming league starting January 9.
“I will be competing in the 92 kg category in this year’s Pro Wrestling League. In heavy-weight categories, it is easy to shift between weight categories and I think this category will suit my game plan. Competing in the league will help us ahead of the Commonwealth Games trials and to observe the game of other foreign wrestlers. Sakshi and I discuss wrestling most of the time and help each other understand the opponents’ moves and tactics. It helps both of us to understand our game,” said Kadian, who had won the gold medal in the last year’s Commonwealth Championships in Singapore apart from winning the silver medal in 2014 CWG.
The auction for the Pro Wrestling League’s third season will be held soon and the bidding will feature 16 medallists from Rio Olympics apart from nine current world champions, including Olympic and World champions Helen Maroulis and Vladimir Khinchgashvili. The Indian line-up will be headed by U-23 World Championships silver medallist Bajrang Punia, who will be facing a challenge from Rahul Mann. Two-time Commonwealth championships silver medallist Mann, whose wife Sarita won the silver medal in Asian Wrestling Championships this year, will compete in the 65 kg category in the league.
“Getting exposure against foreign wrestler is important as we do not face them much during the year. Playing in the league also helped us understand things like mental training and all. It is good that wrestling is seeing a lot of wrestler couples marrying each other and as a wrestler, I often consult my wife Sarita about my game as well as her game,” said Mann, who trains at Delhi’s Chattrasal Stadium along with Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar.
For New Zealand wrestler and 2014 CWG bronze medallist Tayla Ford, the league is also a chance to compete in a country, which also saw her competing in kabaddi. Ford, who played rugby and judo at the national level in New Zealand, was part of the New Zealand team which won the bronze medal in the Kabaddi World Cup in Punjab last year.
“After I won New Zealand’s first medal in female wrestling after 1986 in the 2014 CWG, I was approached by the organisers for the Kabaddi World Cup. I was busy in 2015 but opted to play last year. Kabaddi is a lot like wrestling except that it is a team sport and one has to coordinate one’s moves accordingly. Mentally, it was also challenging as I needed to understand the moves. I liked Punjab a lot and I hope I will be picked up in the Punjab team in PWL,” said 24-year-old Ford.