Wrestling chap Sangram Singh is extremely happy with superstars [tooltip id="c1b465420d07c688942ed18eadfd9f92" keyword_color="#000000" background_color="#ffffff"][tooltip id="4db8f5608d45f5de7881d9bce162f4bf"]Salman Khan">[/tooltip][/tooltip] and Aamir Khan’s portrayal of wrestlers in Sultan and Dangal, respectively.
Sangram who has won the gold medal for wrestling at the Johannesberg Wrestling Championship in 2006 and at the All India Open Wrestling competition in 2007, feels wrestling has finally been given its due in 2016.
“All thanks to Salmanbhai and Aamir Saab. In fact I was speaking to Salmanbhai and jokingly told him he has done more for wrestling than all of us professional wrestling champions. After he worked in Sultan the sport acquired a status granted only to cricket so far. Now there is Aamir Khanji in Dangal who doesn’t get into the akhaada in the film for fighting but coaching. If a superstar of his stature is shown endorsing wrestling it is bound to do wonders for the sports,” says Sangram who has been working relentlessly to promote kushti in the cities.
“For too long now cricket has got all the attention and money. Look at how much financial help cricket gets from the sports federations. Wrestling has never been seen as a sophisticated sport . At least not until now . We as a nation have always worshipped cricket and cricket players. It goes back to the days of colonialism when we Indians were like slaves to Britishers. They would hold the bats while Indians would run for the ball.”
Sangram feels so far there has been no respect for home-grown sports. “We love cricket and football. But kabaddi and kushti are seen fit only for villagers. That’s changing now, thanks to Samanbhai and Aamir Saab. I find wherever I go I now get the attention of the sports fraternity more easily.Even kabaddi now gets noticed in the metropolises because of Abhishek Bachchan’s interest in the sport.”
Sangram is indebted to Salman and Aamir. “What they’ve done to the cause of wrestling is beyond anything we wrestlers could have done. More entertainers should come forward to support sports.I’d love to see Akshay Kumarji in a film on Indian martial arts.”