There is huge sense of satisfaction in wrestler Sangram Singh and one can judge from his happy baritone . Why should it not be ? After all his feat was really commendable. And when you become the first Indian to achieve this feat, the victory is all the more sweet. He was recently crowned the ‘Undisputed’ Champion at the WWP Common Wealth Wrestling Championship after enduring a near death situation in a battle against the Canadian wrestler, Joe Legend at the Nelson Mandela Ground in South Africa Port Elizabeth. In an interview to TEHELKA’s, ARIJEET DUTTA, Sangram Singh spoke candidly on the sport, his success and his plans for the sport in the country :
Q – Tell us about your win in the final against Joe Legend ?
A : It was a tough match at the first place. In Port Elizabeth where the match was played the response from the crowd was electric. It had a large crowd of about 20,000. For the sport this was a fairly big crowd. There were many Indians too and they were very vocal and egged me on to do well . Iam happy that I was able to live up to their great expectations.
Q – Tell us about your journey to fame and what is the Last Man standing contract ?
A : The road to fame was certainly tough for me as I was away from wrestling for three years . And the contract that I signed for my return to the sport is the toughest contract in sport – It is called the “Last Man standing Contract’ . It is sort of death contract that death contract that clearly stated no owning up by organizers if either of the two fighters are fatally hurt in the process. This contract thus makes this sport very tough and needs guts.
Q – How did you choose wrestling as a sport ?
A : I have been blessed that I come from a humble family and from the place where I hail from Haryana ( Rohtak) wrestling is a sport that is followed like a religion. Wrestling comes here naturally and you will find a pehelwan in every household . There is lot of talent and many want to become sportspersons or take up the sport.
Q – How do you plan to popularise the sport in the country ?
A : Well the aim is to set a professional wrestling league championship in India. I want to help those people who aspire to become sportspersons. It is a goal for me. Wrestling schools are on the pipeline as well.
Q – Now that you have achieved international success what are the next steps ahead?
A : The aim is certainly to spread the sport and urge youngsters to take up the sport. Not only the sport which I play, I would like to support sportspersons form different sports as well. As I Have seen the struggle that one faces to become a sportsperson in India.
Q – This is a very interesting point you made. Kindly elaborate?
A : In India it is very tough to be sports person. Many a talent goes waste due to several reasons. Some time financial and sometimes due to politics. These two situations mar many a sports career. As a brand ambassador of the Wrestling Federation of India, it is a goal for me to see that the sportspersons talent do not go waste. Just look at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. It was great chance to showcase India as a sporting nation but sadly failed in this endeavour. CWG 2010 got mired in host of controversies. The image of the nation took a heavy beating. What was worse was that the CWG chief Suresh Kalmadi went to jail and is today a pariah. The scandal of CWG 2010 was such that India cannot afford to even dream of something big on that scale now . Hosting Olympics is a dream now.
Q How optimistic are you about the future ?
A : To be honest, Iam quite hopeful of good days ahead. Things are changing fast and signs are encouraging. Sportspersons feats are being recognised, given coverage and there is money coming into sports. This is good thing. Spots is seen as a career alternative