The wrestler who recently participated in a reality show, Sangram talks to CS about his journey:
Battling my disability
I was born in Rohtak, Haryana in a simple middle class family. Being a premature baby, I was quite weak and prone to illnesses all the time. When I was three, I got infected with severe arthritis, which left me wheelchair-bound. Wrestling was a craze in rural Haryana, and every boy dreamt of earning the prizes and recognition that a victorious wrestler got. My brother was also into wrestling. I expressed my desire to be a wrestler once, but people mocked at me as I was too frail. However, the coach at the arena, Shatruji Maharaj told me how people could battle physical disabilities with sheer willpower. I got inspired and started working on my body. After rigorously exercising the body for over two years, I finally achieved mobility.
Talent is all around
By the time I entered into professional wrestling, I was around 16. But the money in wrestling in that period was pretty inadequate to even meet costs of training and medical expenses. So, I decided to focus on professional wrestling, which was a better option. While I am happy for sportsmen like Vijender Singh and Sushil Kumar, there are many other talented youngsters waiting for the right opportunities. We know only the medal winners but what about the other 10-15 guys who train and work as hard as them? We need to give these youngsters better recognition.
I had never followed cricket earlier. In fact, as a wrestler I always felt cricketers had lower stamina as compared to other sportspersons. I enjoyed watching football instead. But nowadays, I have started watching cricket. It happened because of Sachin Tendulkar. When I met him for the first time, I was bowled over by his humility, commitment and sense of discipline. He is the epitome of sportsmanship.
My guiding force
I like Payal’s (Rohatgi) honesty. Previously, she was a lot into late night parties, but now I insist that she gets adequate rest. We enjoy working out together. Payal is the guiding force in my life. She always cheers me up when I am feeling low.