The Indian wrestling principal partners Tata Motors Commercial Vehicle Unit will accord a grand send off to the Indian Yodhas, who are gunning for glory at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.
Tata Motors Commercial Vehicle Unit earlier this month has inked a multi-crore rupee, three-year deal with the Wrestling Federation of India to back the Indian Yodhas. The tie-up grants India’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer, Tata Motors Commercial Vehicles the Principal Sponsor status of Indian Wrestling.
The Principal Sponsors for Indian wrestling will meet and greet the Indian Yodhas in New Delhi to wish them #GoldLuck as they #GoForGold in the Jakarata and Palembang Asian Games. The Indian Yodhas will start their #GoForGold campaign in Jakarta on August 19.
The Sushil Kumar-led 18-member wrestling squad will leave for Jakarta on Tuesday, August 14, along with the rest of the Indian contingent. Sushil is currently training in Georgia, while the other male Yodhas are honing their skills at the Sports Authority of India Centre in Sonepat and the girls are preparing at the Asian Games’ camp in Lucknow.
Here are the Indian Yodhas, who will be gunning for Gold at the 18th Asian Games:
SUSHIL KUMAR – FREESTYLE (74 KG)
Sushil Kumar was born in a Jaat family of Baprola village, near Najafgarh in South West Delhi. Kumar was inspired to take up wrestling by his father, himself a wrestler, and his cousin Sandeep. Sandeep later stopped competing as the family could only support one wrestler. Kumar trained in pehlwani wrestling at the akhada (wrestling school) in the Chhatrasal Stadium from the age of 14. With minimal funds and poor training facilities for wrestling in India, even for the 2008 Olympic team, his family made sure he obtained the necessary dietary supplements by sending him toned milk, ghee and fresh vegetables
Awards: Arjuna Award, 2005, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award 2008, Padma Shri 2011
BAJRANG PUNIA – FREESTYLE (65 KG)
Punia was born in Khudan village of Jhajjar district in the state of Haryana in India. He began wrestling at the age of seven and was encouraged to pursue the sport by his father. He has a brother named Harender Singh Punia. In 2015, his family moved to Sonipat for him to attend regional center of Sports Authority of India. He works as Traveling Ticket Examiner (TTE) with Indian Railways.
Awards: Arjuna Award, 2015
SANDEEP TOMAR – FREESTYLE (57 KG)
Sandeep from Malakpur in Uttar Pradesh has the distinction of winning a medal at every international tournament he has participated in. Sandeep Tomar on 24 April 2016, secured an Olympic quota place for India in the men’s 57 kg freestyle category with a bronze medal finish on the final day of the 1st World Olympic Qualifying tournament, Mongolia, defeating Ukrainian wrestler Andriy Yatsenko with a dominating 11-0 show. He became the fourth Indian wrestler after Yogeshwar Dutt (men’s 65 kg freestyle).
PAWAN KUMAR – FREESTYLE (86 KG)
Pawan Kumar (born 16 October 1993) is an Indian wrestler. He represented India at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the 86 kg weight class in which he won the bronze medal. He also represented India at the 2014 Asian Games in the 86 kg weight class. His spouse is fellow wrestler Geeta Phogat.
AWARDS: vRajeev Gandhi best Wrestler Award 2013.
MAUSAM KHATRI – FREESTYLE (97KG)
Mausam Khatri was born on 10 December 1990 in Panchi Jatan village of Haryana’s Sonipat district and completed his education from Rohtak. His father Subeh Singh, who was a pehlwan, played an important role in promoting his inclination toward wrestling during his formative years. Khatri made his international debut in 2006 at the cadet level. And after becoming national champion at the senior level in 2008, he has been regularly representing India in international tournaments at the 96 kg/97 kg freestyle event. He has twice represented India in the World Wrestling Championships. Along with amateur wrestling, Khatri has also been active in the traditional Indian wrestling, where he has won Hind Kesari title five times. He serves as a police subinspector in his native state of Haryana.
SUMIT MALIK – FREESTYLE (125 KG)
Malik was born on 9 January 1993 in Karor village of Haryana’s Rohtak district. His mother died when he was young, after which his maternal grandparents took him to his maternal home in Delhi. His maternal uncle was a wrestler in Chhatrasal Stadium, from whom he got inspiration to become wrestler. He has been training at Chhatrasal Stadium since the age of 13.
VINESH PHOGAT – WOMEN’S 50 KG
Vinesh is daughter of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat’s younger brother Rajpal and the cousin of wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari. Both her cousins have won gold in 55kg category in Commonwealth Games.In allowing her cousins and herself to pursue competitive wrestling, her father and uncle had to deal with immense pressure and opposition from the community in their village in Haryana. They were adjudged as going against the morals and values of their community. Her cousin, Ritu Phogat, too is an international level wrestler and has won a gold medal at the 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship.
PINKI – WOMEN’S 53KG
Born in Ritauli Rohtak, Pinki has been an ardent follower of the wrestling sport since her childhood. The same passion took her into the wrestling arena at the age of 14 and she molded herself into a better wrestler over the time. Pinki is a big fan of Sakshi Malik. Her Gold medal performance at recently concluded Yasar Dogu International have added another feature in her cap.
POOJA DHANDA – WOMEN’S 57 KG
Pooja Dhanda (born 1 January 1994) is an Indian wrestler from Budana village of Hisar district in Haryana, who won the silver medal in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, and 2018 Commonwealth Games. Pooja started her career as a judoka but joined wrestling in 2009, and since then, there has been no looking back for her. Recently, she defeated the reigning World and Olympic Champion Helen Maroulis in the Pro Wrestling League.She was screened and originally selected to play the role of Babita Phogat in blockbuster Dangal (film) which she could not play due to an injury.
SAKSHI MALIK – WOMEN’S 62 KG
Sakshi Malik (born 3 September 1992) is an Indian freestyle wrestler. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won the bronze medal in the 58 kg category, becoming the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics and the fourth female Olympic medalist from the country.
According to her father, she was motivated to take up wrestling from seeing her grandfather Badlu Ram, who was also a wrestler. She began training in wrestling at the age of 12 under a coach, Ishwar Dahiya, at an Akhara in Chhotu Ram Stadium, Rohtak.
Awards: Padma Shri 2017, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2016.
DIVYA KAKRAN – WOMEN’S 68 KG
Divya Kakran (born 1998) is a freestyle wrestler from India. Lives at Gokulpur in East Delhi. Divya has won 60 Medals including 17 Gold for Delhi State Championship and become Bharat Kesari for eight times.
KIRAN BISHNOI – WOMEN’S 76 KG
Kiran Bishnoi is an Indian female wrestler, who won the bronze medal in 2018 Commonwealth Games. Kiran lives in Ravat Kheda Village, Haryana with her family. Learning the early lessons of wrestling from his grandfather, she developed her interest in the game. Despite facing a serious injury in knee during 2014 commonwealth games trials, she roared back with the bronze medal in the 2018 edition.
GYANENDRA – GRECO ROMAN (60 KG)
The young Greco Roman wrestler, Gyanendra goes to the 18th Asian Game with the 2017 Commonwealth Championship gold under his belt. He had secured the 7th position in the World Championship last year.
MANISH – GRECO ROMAN (67KG)
The young Indian grappler born in Chandi Gaon Rohatak belongs to a Farmer family. Despite having a very humble background, Manish never let his dream die. From learning the basics of wrestling from his big brother and travelling 30 Kms every day to access the best available “Akhara” in the village, Manish has grown up as one of the finest Indian wrestlers. He idealizes Indian Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar.
His most successful performance was the gold medal in Commonwealth Championships 2017.
GURPREET SINGH – GRECO ROMAN (77 KG)
The Indian Wrestler, Gurpreet Singh hails from Mohali, Chandigarh. He began his career lessons in wrestling at the tender age of 9. Having weakened financial condition Gurpreet’s father couldn’t pursue his wrestling but he saw the spark in Gurpreet. He is living his father’s dream and making the nation proud at various international wrestling events.
He won back to back gold medals in 2016 and 2017 Commonwealth Championships.
HARPREET SINGH – GRECO ROMAN (87 KG)
Harpreet Singh was born in wrestling family in Karail village, Samgrur, Punjab. Running wrestling blood through his veins, it didn’t take him time to understand his calling for wrestling. His grandfather was a wrestler and father was a known Punjabi-Style Kabaddi Player. Starting his wrestling career at the tender age of 11 years Harpreet Singh is setting the example in Indian wrestling.
Harpreet Singh have two back to back medals in the commonwealth championships and triple in Asian Championship.
HARDEEP SINGH – GRECO ROMAN (97 KG)
Born in Dahola Haryana, Hardeep Singh was always fascinated towards the homegrown games like Kabaddi and Wresting since his schools days. He delved into the wrestling at the very early age of 13 years and then never looked back. Inspired from the ace Indian wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar, Hardeep is flying Indian Colors at the international events.
Only Olympian from his village, Hardeep had his most successful outing in commonwealth championships.
NAVEEN – GRECO ROMAM (130 KG)
Commonwealth Championship gold medalist, Naveen hails from a tiny village Selvia of Sonipat, Haryana. Following his uncle’s footsteps, Naveen started his wrestling career with him at the age of 15. Struggling all his way to the top, Naveen has seen it all. Like other Indian wrestlers, he also found his role-model in Sushil Kumar.
Gold medalist in consecutive commonwealth championships, Naveen also had his share of success in Asian championship.