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Tokyo Olympics: Chhatrasal Stadium regains lost image after Ravi Kumar Dahiya's silver medal

All four sides of the main wrestling hall inside Chhatrasal Stadium are adorned with pictures of their most famous son and two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar.

Published: 06th August 2021 08:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th August 2021 08:12 AM   |  A+A-

Trainees at Delhi's Chhatrasal Stadium glued to the TV during wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya's Olympic final bout in Tokyo

Trainees at Delhi's Chhatrasal Stadium glued to the TV during wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya's Olympic final bout in Tokyo. (Photo| Parveen Negi, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: All four sides of the main wrestling hall inside Chhatrasal Stadium are adorned with pictures of their most famous son and two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar. Everybody you ask, kids and coaches, has only the best things to say about "Pehelwanji" and his role in their burgeoning careers. 

Following the arrest of Sushil Kumar in connection with the murder of former junior national wrestling champion Sagar Dhankhar during a brawl inside the stadium premises, things changed not only for the sport but also for India's premier wrestling academy.

With Ravi Kumar Dahiya's Tokyo Olympics silver, suddenly the doom and gloom seem to have dissipated and replaced with joyous scenes of grapplers with their mentors dancing away into the night. The medal is not only for the country but also for the sport and its most famous and decorated stable.

This is an image correction of sorts. There were incidents that tarnished Chhatrasal's reputation. Dahiya’s success brings the focus back on what this place is known for - producing world class wrestlers.

"This is a venue seeped in history and nobody can take away the school's achievements. But the grey clouds that were hovering have been lifted thanks to Ravi's achievement. Hopefully, the sport will once again flourish and along with it people will once again embrace the culture of Chhatrasal Stadium," said Arun Kumar, former trainee and current sparring partner of Ravi.

One of the coaches said all wrestlers were suddenly thought of as anti-social elements. "It seemed like all of them are goons. Our sport, our academy as well as Pehelwanji was shown in a negative light and the mood at the academy turned sombre to say the least," coach Jaiveer Dahiya said. That was not the end of it. Kids dropped out or left. With COVID-19 also not relenting, it was a tough period for all. 

Despite Sushil being in jail, his achievements and helpful nature is mentioned whenever there is a conversation with any of the academy trainees. "The TV we saw the Olympic matches on was thanks to Pehelwanji. It is because of him that so many of us are here and helping the kids who dream of emulating him. This victory is for him and a testament to the hard work he has put in," a teary-eyed Jaiveer mentioned.

It was a return back to the good old days on Thursday with song and dance galore along with kilos of the sweetest kind of snacks the city has to offer. 

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