Jakarta : India’s Kurash contingent, which did not have money to even pay for its kits, has beaten all odds to land two medals at the Asian Games through teenagers Pincky Balhara and Malaprabha Yallappa Jadhav.
The team had to go to Uzbekistan for a 20-day training camp ahead of the Games and help came from his village.
“People in my village pooled in Rs 1.75 lakh to send me to training camp. They all have supported me a lot. I am forever indebted to them,” a teary-eyed Balhara said.
Balhara, hailing from Neb Sarai village in Delhi, and Jadhav from Belgaum made history by winning the silver and bronze in the 52kg category. The sport is making its debut at the Asian Games.
It is a remarkable effort from the girls in a sport that is almost unheard of in India. Questions were raised about the team’s participation at the Games and the Indian Olympic Association had said the athletes would have to pay for their kits as they come from a non-recognised Kurash Association of India (KAI).
KAI is not even recognised by the Sports Ministry but after today’s outcome, that could soon be a reality.
“The Sports Minister (Rajyavardhan Rathore) met us in the morning and has promised to recognise us very soon,” KAI secretary Ravi Kapoor, who is here as a technical official, said.
Most of the 14 members in the kurash squad come from a judo background as the two sports are very similar. Kurash is a popular sport in Central Asia.