Nirmal: Both bullock cart races and cockfighting are synonymous with Sankranti festival in several parts of Telangana. Several villages in Nirmal district, however, see a different kind of competition – wrestling – to mark the annual festival of farmers. Some villages have earned popularity for hosting the wrestling pageant and for producing promising wrestlers.
Come Sankranti, Kubheer mandal centre, Pardi (B), Ranjini Thanda, Dodarna and Halda villages of Kubheer mandal, Thanur, Elvi, Borgaon and Mogli villages of Thanur mandal turn turfs of wrestling competitions. These villages are known for hosting the traditional event since times immemorial. They witness it in view of this major festival of Telangana and some other fairs celebrated on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri and other religious affairs.
Pothareddy, a resident of Elvi village in Thanur mandal told ‘Telangana Today’ that wrestling had been the signature sport of many villages of Nirmal and neighboring Maharashtra State since ancient times. “The competitions form an important cultural aspect of fairs and festivals. The sport might have crept into Nirmal district from Maharashtra where the tradition of wrestling competitions can strikingly be noticed during Sankranti festival,” he opined.
Members of village development committees of the villages and certain religious organisations make arrangements and identify a venue for organising the wrestling competitions. Local policemen are deployed at the venues for preventing clashes and for preventing untoward incidents. Cash prizes somewhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 10,000 are given to winners. No fare is charged from viewers
Considering the fame and cash prizes, youngsters of the villages show interest to venture in the field of wrestling by taking a cue from paternal uncles. The budding and enthusiastic wrestlers undergo rigorous training under the supervision and guidance of some veteran sportsmen who excelled in this sport. They build bodies and take regular exercise to prove their mettle in this field.
For instance, scores of youngsters, dwelling in sleepy Dharkubheer village in Kubheer mandal are excelling in wrestling competitions conducted as part of celebrations of Sankranti and many other fairs. Evidently, one Nagesh, Shesharao, Ganapathi, Ramulu, Ramalingam, Sudhakar and Ramchandar from this village had won several prizes in state-level events held by the government.
“Dharkubheer carries a unique tradition of preserving this combat sport. It has produced scores of brilliant sportsmen. Youngsters can shine in wrestling in national and internal arena if they were encouraged by the government,” opined Ramulu, an elderly person from the habitation. Villagers sought better sports infrastructure and support for carrying forward it to the future generations.
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