Lord of the ring

India Today - - SIMPLY DELHI - Con­tact: 9999816201 by Ekta Mar­waha

Never in his wildest dreams did San­jay Ku­mar think he’d be­come a national hero one day. A small town boy from Shah­pur Turk in Sonepat, Haryana, he made his vil­lage jump with joy when he won the gold for Men’s Greco-ro­man 74kg at the Com­mon­wealth Games 2010. His hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to­wards the sport of wrestling fi­nally paid off.

THE CHAL­LENGE Ku­mar was never aca­dem­i­cally in­clined and be­longs to a fam­ily of farm­ers. His ma­ter­nal un­cle and el­der brother would of­ten wres­tle at a lo­cal akhada, where Ku­mar would watch from the side­lines. At the age of 14 he de­cided to try his hand at the sport. He was then trained by Late Ran­beer Dhaka in Haryana. “From train­ing in mud pits to sleep­ing in one room filled with more than 100 boys train­ing to be wrestlers was not easy.” From rig­or­ous work­outs at 4am to lazy evenings with fel­low wrestlers; Ku­mar has spent most of the last decade at an akhada in Azad­pur.

THE BOUT He started play­ing at the national level in 2000, and won his first gold at the Sub Ju­nior National Level Cham­pi­onship the same year. He then won a gold un­der the Se­nior National Cham­pi­onship in 2001. Un­til now he has won six gold medals in­clud­ing the one at the Com­mon­wealth Games, and one sil­ver for Na­tion­als. Ku­mar is cur­rently prac­tic­ing for the Olympics 2012.

SAN­JAY KU­MAR, 33, Wrestler

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