KOCHI: There is a unique concept in eastern martial arts where youngsters are pitted in a group alongside seniors and both train under a master. In Japan, it’s called Uchi-deshi, meaning ‘inside students’ as the trainees, juniors and seniors, stay with the master. The purpose is to help cubs evolve into lions under the teacher’s eyes.
It seems the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is drawing inspiration from such models. They are planning to start special training camps where two senior grapplers will be accompanied by a junior and sub-junior each and the four will train together as a unit. The objective is to groom junior and sub-junior wrestlers so that they become battle-ready when the seniors bid adieu.
This plan was conceived during meetings of the top bosses of WFI after the team’s disastrous outing in the World Championship in Paris. The officials realised there is no point lavishing funds on the training of seniors as their shelf life is limited. As per plans, each weight category will have a unit of four wrestlers.
This will be applicable in all 24 weight categories (eight each in men’s/women’s freestyle, Greco-Roman).
Junior and cadet wrestlers, who have won medals in international competitions recently, will be inducted into the camp that will last for 40-60 days. This plan, however, won’t affect the functioning of the existing national camps as they will begin after the National Championships in November.
“There is no point in spending all the funds on the seniors as it would be a short-sighted approach. How long will they serve the country? We have got a string of talented youngsters coming up and due care should be taken to keep them in good stead, taking into account the long future ahead for them,” a senior WFI official said.
He added that since the youngsters will be sharing time and space with the experienced senior wrestlers, they will get a clear understanding of how things work in the competitive senior arena. “That’s the most precious thing they will ever get. Plus, the service of foreign coaches including Vladimir Mestvirishvili, who has a contract running until November,” he said.
WFI secretary VN Prasood acknowledged that they had indeed held such a discussion, but added that a final decision is yet to be arrived upon.