Ramesh Kukde, a wrestler at Prem Nath Akhada, Delhi interviewed by Manisha Chaudhary (2016)

About the intern - Manisha Chaudhary is a student of Miranda House, Delhi University. She is doing her major's in History. She is very keen to explore different things especially the monuments of cities. She belongs from a Jaat background so she chose the topic of wrestling which is a major sport in her village.

GURU PREM NATH was a legendary wrestler of India. Born in India on 1st July 1955. He was a student of Delhi University and a disciple of guru Hanuman ji.
This akhada is also known as Sonkar wrestling club, as the community around the akhada is known by that name. The community donates and helps in maintaining it. The wrestlers here compete in all sort of wrestling competitions, national and international matches.
The akhada is clean and well maintained. It is building with a dirt wrestling pit on the ground floor as well as several rooms on the ground floor for the wrestlers live here.
This is very prominent akhada in the Gur Mandir Marg. There are 48 students train here. They start practice at 4 in the morning. There are wrestlers of every age group 10-15, 15-20 also. A wrestler named DIVYA was selected in world championship of 2016 which was going to be held in china. Another girl SIMMO also get selected in the world championship. This akhada have 20 girls who got there training here. This akhada play a very important in promoting women wrestling in Delhi. All students of senior group won around 4 national championship. This akhada have a mat based wrestling. Wrestlers here also took part in the dangals which is a mud based wrestling took place in villages. Vikram coach train wrestlers here he is international coach, he won gold medal in the ALL INDIA WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP, he is a SHAHI coach, he also attend several Indian camp. He joined this akhada 5 years ago after the death of RAJ SINGH who was a ASP in Delhi police he was a ARJUNA AWARDEE and won RASHTRIYA PURUSKAR. Another coach SANGEET JI is a superintendent chief in railway, he got this job after winning a gold medal in ALL INIDIA WRESTLING. They came here to train these wrestlers. This akhada has both type of pattern-mud based and mat based. Students came here from different regions like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh. Some students live here to practice here other came from their home at 4 in the evening every day. All students practice at the same time for around 3 hours. Students of age group 5-10 also come here. This akhada shows a great variation in the age of wrestlers.

In conversation with Ramesh Kukde, a wrestler at Prem Nath Akhada, Delhi 

Q- Tell me something about yourself.

I belong to Nasik, Maharashtra. I came Delhi about 4 years ago to learn wrestling here. Delhi is now a center of attraction for the wrestlers. There are a lot of prominent akhadas here. I have started wrestling at 12 years.

Q- Have you done your studies?

I have done my schooling from Maharashtra. I have studied till class 12, I had humanities. I am not able to continue my education after that due to my career plans.

Q- So are you planning to do some progress in your education?

No, I think I am done with my education. I don't want any other qualifications for my wrestling. So I don't have further plans for pursuing higher education.

Q- Why have you chosen this akhada?

This akhada is very famous in Delhi. Our coach is an ARJUNA AWARDEE and a very famous Indian wrestler. So I decided to come here.

Q- Why did you choose this profession?

I wanted to be a wrestler. From my school onwards I was a sports person and took part in many games like kushti and karate.

Q- So do you think Delhi is better than any other place for training of wrestlers?

Delhi is the national capital which made it the center of attraction. In our Maharashtra we have a lot of championships of wrestling, Maharashtra is a very famous place for sports these days.

Q- In what kind of tournament you took part?

 I mainly took part in army wrestling tournaments and state and national wrestling championship.
Q- What are your major achievements in this field?

I won a BRONZE MEDAL IN DELHI CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2012. I won GOLD MEDAL IN 70KG in Maharashtra. I won BRONZE MEDAL IN ARMY CHAPIONSHIP IN 2014. I got a job in army due to my medal in national championship. Indian Government financially supports us to promote these sports in India. Wrestling has become a popular sport these days.

Q- What kind of family background do you have?

My father is a farmer, my mother is a housewife. My family used to support me a lot. They want me to join this akhada and achieve great success in this field.

Q- So how could you maintain your job as well as your tournaments?

I don't have to be regular on my job. I just practice here for the upcoming tournaments. I have to visit rarely to my office. So there is nothing like a hectic schedule for me.

Q- In what kind of tournaments you have taken part till now?

I have participated in many tournaments like
Dangal- which are village based fights taking place in mud. I had won many dangal fights.
Army wrestling tournaments- Since I am an army officer I have to participate in army based tournaments.
Senior wrestling championships- I have participated in many senior wrestling championships which took place every year.

Q- What is your daily routine?

I woke up at 4am. I practice for 2 hours in the morning.  At 8am, I eat my diet which is provided to me. I again sleep from 11 till 2. After that I practice till 6, then take my diet and again go to bed at 10.
This is my routine for every time except Sunday. Sunday is an off for us. I take rest the whole day. I don't make further plans on Sunday.

Q- Is there is any kit required for your practice?

Yes there are some important equipment’s for wrestling like:
costume which are different for women and men.

Q- Are you having some financial problems or not?

No, my family supports me a lot. I get my salary every month, but I am not able to save any money. I spend all of my money on my diet which is a must for me. Sometimes my family sends me money, whenever I need it.

Q- Have you done wrestling in your school?

Yes, I am a National level player in my school. I have participated in many State and National wrestling competitions.
I have won 3 GOLD MEDAL in wrestling at National level. I was also a Kabbadi player in my school. I took part in both the games, kabbadi is similar to kushti. 

Q- Was it your decision to join wrestling?

Yes, it was totally upon me to do anything. I was very interested in wrestling from school times. So I used to participate in many tournaments. Later on after my schooling, I joined this akhada for some national tournaments of India. My family never forced me to do anything.

Q- Do you visit your hometown or not?

Yes, I have to visit my hometown obviously. I visit my hometown in every 2-3 months to meet my family and relatives.

Q- Is there is any difference in treatment of girls and boys in the akhada? 

We don't focus on the gender differences, we consider everyone as a wrestler here. Due to this there are a lot of women wrestlers trained here.

Q- Which are your upcoming tournaments for which you are preparing yourself?
I am preparing myself for the upcoming tournaments of army in 2017.
I am also going to take part in the ALL INDIA WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP.

Q- Where do you want to see yourself after 10 years?

Till then I will get a medal in the ALL INDIA WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP. I will also be a medalist in the Commonwealth Games.


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