In India, adulation for cricket holds a deep place in the hearts of millions and is almost insurmountable. However, over the years, players and athletes across the country have emerged in different sports that have crossed the fringes of the mainstream, have brought panache to these games, engaged the spectators’ attention and have made the country proud. Today, Tennis, badminton, wrestling and para athletic games are followed with a rising fervor. Last week marked a celebratory period for the sports fraternity of India wherein numerable medals were won across these sports.
On Wednesday, on the opening day of Asian Wresting Championship, India claimed its first medal in the wrestling event. Indian grappler Harpreet Singh won a bronze medal in the Greco Roman – 80 kilogram category. Owing to his extraordinary physical strength and excellent wrestling techniques, Singh started the championship on a high note and defeated the Chinese grappler, Na Junjie.
Continuing the winning streak in a parallel event, the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medal winner, Sakshi Malik scored a silver medal for India, in the 60 kilograms women’s wresting in Asian Wrestling Championship, on Friday. This was the first time that Sakshi competed in 60kgs after jumping up the weight division from 58kgs. Vinesh Phogat scored a silver medal in women’s 55kg category at the same event.
On Saturday, Bajrang Punia concluded the championship with a bang by winning the first gold medal in Asian Wresting Championship 2017. He defeated the South Korean wrestler Seunghui Lee by 6-2 in men’s 65 kg freestyle event. The host country, India tallied a total of 10 medals in this championship and ranked 5th in the whole event.
In the 2017 World Para Athletics Grant Prix held in China, India continued the winning streak. Ramudri Someswara Rao, Indian para-athlete won gold medal at this event on Saturday. Rao finished men’s 200 meter T44 in 25.29 seconds and bagged a gold medal for the country. He finished ahead of Lal Vinay Kumar who completed the race in 26.16 seconds.
In the same event, Sep Hokato Sema, the Indian short put para-athlete, won a bronze for the country. By winning these events, both the para-athletes have qualified for the IPC Para Athletics World Championships, which are going to take place in London. So far, India has won 7 medals: 1 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze. With this, India stands 4th in the medals tally 2017 for World Para Athletics Grand Prix.
In a week full of sporting action, Indian athletes showed their grit and tenacity and brought about mounds of laurels and sporting glory in sports that are usually beyond the purview of majority audience. Hopefully, these wins might inject in a new spurge of enthusiasm for the spirit of athleticism, no matter what the sport.
PRAJWALA GHATE | TOC
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