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‘Wrestling is a mind game’

Staff Reporter

District-level wrestling competition organised as part of Karavali Utsav


Wrestling originated in India but its rules have changed at the international-level


— Photo: R. Eswarraj

GAME ON: Wrestlers in action at the district-level competitions in Mangalore on Monday.

MANGALORE: It may be wrong to assume that wrestling is about two hulks fighting each other with brute force. L. Manjappa, a wrestling coach and referee from Mysore, believes that modern wrestling bears resemblance to chess. Mr. Manjappa, who had come here to officiate at the Lokesh Shetty Memorial Wrestling competition as part of Karavali Utsav on Monday, said: “Wrestling is a mind game. Nowadays, it has become a science.”

As was evident at the district-level event here on Monday, wrestling is not a slow game where each fighter tries to gradually wither his opponent away. The bouts bore resemblance to quicker contact sports such as boxing and martial arts. The sport might have been inspired by giant bears but as the fighters constantly pounced, swooped and ambushed one another at the slightest opportunity, they resembled agile cats.

Mr. Manjappa said that one of the major changes in the last decade was that the wrestlers had become less bulky. “With the loss of weight comes speed.

That is what attracts the spectators,” he said. There was a constant rancour throughout the competition, even as the spectators joined in the “oohs” and “aahs” of wrestlers and kept giving tips to them. People who had come to visit the exhibition being held at the same venue, stopped for a while to take a cursory look at the event. But they were soon attracted by the shouts and bouts and became involved in the action.

The pundits and the pupils told The Hindu on the sidelines of the competition that wrestlers from the Karavali region (coastal Karnataka) used more brawn than brain.

“The wrestlers here might be weak in their technique but they are quite strong,” said Mr. Manjappa who has been observing the wrestlers from this region for more than 25 years. Sanjeev Shetty (70), a wrestler from the Konkan coast and winner of several State and national-level competitions, said: “There is not a single certified coach in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts to teach the boys the finer aspects of the sport.

Although wrestling originated in India, the rules have changed at the international-level,” he said and added that the only thing that separated wrestlers of this region from the rest of the country was coaching.

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