On Monday, Sajan Bhanwal who is known as the Indian Greco Roman wrestler had bagged his first gold high. His successful performance in the final of this 77kg Greco Roman was the most enjoyable part for the hosts on Day 1 of the Asian Junior Wrestling Championship. India’s best Greco Roman wrestler across weight groups is the national junior champion since long four years. He has been bagged with awards in Asian Championships and World Championships. He had a reputation which he lived up to and had kept it constant as he dominated his rivals from Tajikistan, South Korea, and Iran. A bleeding cut over his left eye which the player ignored, Sajan didn’t give up a single point in his three bouts.

Sajan Bhanwal and his passion – Greco Roman wrestler

Greco Roman wrestler - Sajan Bhanwal
Greco Roman wrestler – Sajan Bhanwal

In Haryana’s wrestling villages, the local dangals support the financing, and grapplers opt for the freestyle version to make quick money and frequently shift to Greco-Roman at the insistence of their trainer or after failing to make a mark at the former. Because of his Athletic skills, he had made it to schooling, and the general perspective was that if desired to take up wrestling, freestyle was likely a better career choice. 

The thing that attracted him to Greco-Roman six years ago when he first went to see a wrestling training session in Pratap Sports School in Kharkhoda.

 

Sajan Bhanwal in the Junior World Championship trophy 

Greco Roman wrestler - Sajan Bhanwal
Greco Roman wrestler – Sajan Bhanwal

When he became the first Indian Greco-Roman wrestler in 16 years to win a World Junior Championship medal (bronze) he proved all the people wrong who doubted him. He defeated Ali Erbay of Turkey from the 74kg category in Tampere, Finland. Just four Indians have managed to acquire a Junior World Championship trophy in Greco-Roman with Mukesh Khatri bagging the last bronze in 2001. Pappu Yadav is the only wrestler to win gold, back in 1992.

The Greco-Roman wrestler achieved bronze in the Asian Junior Championships in Chinese Taipei in June and then didn’t lose confidence in himself even after he lost to Akzhol Makhmudov in the Junior World Championship to finish on the podium through the repechage.

 

Greco Roman wrestler bags Gold for India

Greco Roman wrestler - Sajan Bhanwal
Greco Roman wrestler – Sajan Bhanwal

“It’s a great feeling to win the gold medal in front of the home crowd. Everyone in the family has been waiting for this for a long time. They always asked me when I will stop winning bronze medals and finally get gold. With so many close friends and my coach Rajveer Chikkara in the stands, it was a great day for me. So many people are congratulating my father and me,” the 20-year-old wrestler says.

“I was never really interested in studies, so my father decided to send me to Pratap School. It turned my life. I wasn’t keen on studies. Once I reached Kharkhoda, I concentrated on freestyle for six months. I realized that I wasn’t good at freestyle as well. So I switched to Greco Roman and fortunes changed. My father used to ask for money from his friends and people in the village so that I could concentrate on wrestling. All that ends today,” he says

The gold medal wasn’t the only great news for Sajan. Following his incredible run in the Asian meet, he is now ready to join the Indian Air Force. The road to achieve the gold medal hasnt been easy for Sajan. His father Mahipal, a farmer at the Kasandi village in Sonipat, did not have the financial resources to encourage the family’s wrestling star. And that’s why Mahipal requested his son to give up on professors and combine Pratap School at Kharkhoda. Even though it’s known as college, the Kharkhoda establishment is primarily wrestling academy.

India coach Naresh Kumar reported that Sajan has strong Greco Roman basics. “During age-group wrestling in India, we do not focus much on stance and base of a Greco-Roman wrestler. But Sajan has a great stance which helps him to get a stable position on the mat. The Iran wrestlers have a great stance as well, but Sajan matched them today” Naresh states. Besides Sajan, no other Indian wrestlers could have matched the Iran wrestlers in the last bout. They had a wrestler at each one of the five finals that were contested. In 55kg, Vijay lost to Pouya Mohammad Naserpour 0-8 while Aryan Panwar suffered a heartbreaking loss in the 130 kg final to Amin Mohammadzaman Mirzazadeh 1-2.

“I was desperate to win this medal. I had planned this final and kept thinking about it. The Iran wrestlers are good but I had beaten wrestlers from Iran before, so I was confident. I planned not to give any points early. I knew he would make a mistake so I waited and I came up with a counter,” he says.

Sajan Bhanwal has shown great love towards his passion, we congratulate him on this occasion of bagging gold for India and we wish him good luck for his upcoming and future events.

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