Lord of the ring
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