MYSURU: Though the heritage city of Mysuru has a long history when it comes to wrestling, thanks to the patronage by the erstwhile rulers of Mysore, today women are least encouraged to hit the mat.
But the trend may change for the better with the Haryana girl Sakshi Malik scripting history by winning a bronze medal in Olympics. Wrestling coaches who have rarely seen girls on the wrestling mats here feel that it is the right time for the authorities and clubs to take measures to encourage girls to take up wrestling.
At present, only four girls from the entire city regularly practice the game at two mats available at Sports Pavillion and Lions Hall of University of Mysore. Two out of four have won medals in state level while another 14-year-old Gurgaon born Shivani has raised lot of expectations. Her coach L Manjanna is confident that she will win a medal at higher level games in 3-4 years. In recent past, Ramya and Rita, both from rural background had made Mysuru proud by winning medals at the national level. Manjanna who has been a coach for over a quarter century can count the girls (16-17) he has coached.
According to him, apart from lack of encouragement from families, the false notion that it requires eating non-veg food to become a wrestler is holding back many.
A majority of wrestlers who have made it big, like Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik, are vegetarians. He said scientific training in wrestling should be focused.
Arun Patil, a former gymnastics coach with Sports Authority of India said parents should change their mindset towards the game. “I see change of attitude among parents happening more in Kerala than in Karnataka. Grace marks for sports on lines of Kerala may help encourage sporting talents to pursue it seriously.”