From not having Rs 10k for college fees to qualifying for Asian C'ships: Wrestler Mulayam's story

Grappler from Uttar Pradesh beat 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Naveen to finish on top of the podium in the selection trials on Friday 
Mulayam Yadav with legendary Iranian wrestler Hassan Yazdani
Mulayam Yadav with legendary Iranian wrestler Hassan Yazdani

CHENNAI: While growing up, Mulayam Yadav grappled with life's extraordinary challenges. There was a time when he couldn't pay Rs 10,000 as his sports college fees let alone his dietary requirements. Add to it, he lost his father, a daily labourer, to snakebite a few years ago. Given the situation, he even thought of quitting wrestling.

Wrestler Mulayam Yadav
Wrestler Mulayam Yadav

Hailing from Sonbarsa village of Ghazipur district (Uttar Pradesh), Mulayam was facing severe financial constraints then. His father Subba Yadav used to unload building materials apart from cultivating a small piece of land the family owns in the village to make ends meet. It was not easy. However, his family, including uncle Dharmu Yadav, convinced him not to give up the sport. They also contemplated selling the farmland but decided against it as they managed to borrow the amount required to pay the fees. 

The collective effort taken by the family made Mulayam more determined as he started improving by leaps and bounds in the next few years proving his mettle at the national level. On Friday, he went a step ahead as the 21-year-old grappler qualified for the Senior Asian Championships by winning the 70kg freestyle selection trials in New Delhi. It will be his first international event at the senior level. He had already bagged silver and bronze in the U-20 Asian and World Championships respectively last year.
"My elder brother wanted to be a wrestler but he could not pursue it because of our poor financial condition. He then motivated me to take up the sport. But I also faced similar situations. Had it not been my family I would have left the sport in 2018-19," Mulayam, who defeated 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Naveen to finish on top of the podium in the trials, told this daily.
Mulayam lost his father in 2019. "He was bitten by a snake in the field. He was guarding the field at night when a snake bit him. We found it only in the morning and rushed him to the hospital but couldn't save him," said Mulayam.

By then, he had already got selected for Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS), Bellary (Karnataka). A medal in the senior nationals followed which encouraged him to keep performing. "I used to work hard before coming to IIS but improved considerably once I started training here. The role of Iranian coach Amir Tavakolian is very important in ironing out my flaws. It helped me during the trials to get the better off senior wrestlers like Naveen," added Mulayam.

He had lost the 70kg final in the previous senior nationals but made up for it in the trials to book a ticket for Astana, Kazakhstan. The continental event will be held from April 9 to 14. Meanwhile, the former World Championships silver medallist and Tokyo Olympian Deepak Punia (86kg) won all his bouts to qualify for the Asian Championships. He, however, competed in 92kg. The trials for women wrestlers will be held on Saturday.

Winners
Freestyle: Aman 57kg, Pankaj 61kg, Anuj Kumar 65kg, Mulayam Yadav 70kg, Yash Tushir 74kg, Deepak 79kg, Jonty Kumar 86kg, Deepak Punia 92kg, Deepak Nehra 97kg, Anirudh 125kg.
Greco-Roman: Rupin 55kg, Sumit 60kg, Neeraj 63kg, Ashu 67kg, Vikas 72kg, Sajan 77kg, Rohit Dahiya 82kg, Sunil Kumar 87kg, Narender Cheema 97kg, Naveen 130kg.

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