CHANDIGARH/AMRITSAR: For the past decade, Sukhchain Singh, a farmer from Bagaria village just outside the border town of Tarn Taran in Punjab, has been taking bank loans to support the training of his daughter, international wrestler Navjot Kaur. Over the years, he has run up a debt of Rs 13 lakh.
On Friday, Navjot, 28, made her family’s burden lighter by becoming the first Indian woman to win gold in the senior Asian Championship. She beat Miya Imai of Japan 9-1 in a one-sided encounter in the women’s 65 kg freestyle category at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to make history. Overcome by emotion, Navjot broke down, even as her coaches hoisted her for a victory lap.
“Our happiness knows no bounds. She has made the nation proud. Now, I want her to bring home an Olympic medal,” said Sukhchain, who had encouraged both his daughters to pursue wrestling even though others in the village thought the sport didn’t befit girls.
Indian women have reached the finals of the prestigious tournament 13 times in the past but have always finished second best. Navjot had reached the final in 2013 and lost. In fact, she had lost to the same Japanese opponent in the first round at Bishkek, but in the final, she hit two four-pointer throws with her signature leg flip move known as the ‘tang’ to break the jinx.
Navjot’s signature ‘tang’ move won her gold, first by an Indian woman at the senior Asian Championship.
Navjot’s family laments lack of govt support
The joy of wrestler Navjot Kaur’s family was tinged with resentment over lack of support from the government. In 2014, a waist injury left Navjot out of the game for almost two years, and it took a long rehabilitation process before she could get back to winning form. “My father bore the entire expense of her treatment and we also borrowed money. No one came to our help then,” says Navjeet Kaur, Navjot’s sister and a former wrestler herself.
Referring to international woman cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur being appointed as a DSP in Punjab police only on Thursday, Navjeet said, “The government should treat all athletes equally. A woman cricketer is made DSP while an international wrestler who won a medal is a clerk. This is not parity.”
Navjot was recruited as a senior clerk in the railways after she won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. Navjeet, 32, gave up wrestling a couple of years ago after a string of injuries. Their younger brother, Yuvraj, 23, an aspiring cricketer also gave up his dream and started to help his father in the farm so that they could support Navjot. Navjeet adds that an international woman wrestler needs at least Rs 1 lakh every month for kits, training, diet and boarding and lodging. “But my sister managed with Rs 50,000.”
PR Sodhi, general secretary of Punjab wrestling association and former coach, said she possesses immense strength and her unique move of using ‘taang’ makes her even more lethal.
Bajrang, Vinod win bronze
Defending champ Bajrang Punia settled for a bronze in men’s 65kg freestyle as Indian grapplers bagged two medals on the penultimate day of the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships on Saturday.
Vinod Kumar Omprakash won the other bronze medal in the men’s 70kg freestyle. The two medals took India’s tally to eight — gold and silver each with six bronze medals. Bajrang, who won gold in the 2017 edition in New Delhi, lost 5-7 in the quarterfinals against Daichi Takatani of Japan. But the 24-year-old Haryana wrestler got the chance to play in the repechage round after his conqueror reached the final.
Bajrang first accounted for Abdulqosim Fayziev of Tajikistan 12-2 in the repechage round and then beat Yones Aliakbar Emamichoghaei of Iran 10-4 in the bronze medal play-off.
Vinod Kumar also lost in the quarterfinals (3-6) against Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan but was given a lifeline for a medal after his victor reached the final. Source : timesofindia