In a freewheeling chat, he opens up about his passion for his sport and his support system.
Childhood dream come true
Since my childhood days, I was interested in wrestling. My family-grandfather, dad and brother influenced me to take up wrestling as a career. I was in the sixth grade when I began training with Satpal Singh. He trained me as per internationalstandards. My fighting strategy is decided by him keeping in mind the level of the tournament, the opponent, etc. He not only supports me completely but also takes good care of meduring our training sessions.
I am working with the Indian Railways since 2004. They are extremely supportive given the nature of my sport. Whenever there is a match, they allow me to go and represent the country. Of course, I enjoy all these concessions given by them. But whenever I have some free time on hand, they ask me to resume work and I happily oblige. My promotion is also due there (laughs).
I have won many awards since the age of 14 and each of these awards is special. The most memorable moment is when I won the silver medal at the Men’s Freestyle Wrestling at the 2012 Olympics in London. Winning the bronze in 2008 at the Olympics in Beijing is another special memory.
I enjoy watching Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag play cricket. I have met Sachin on several occasions and he is a huge inspiration for me. I admire him very much, every sportsperson should take a lesson from him on how to make India proud by their achievements. Besides wrestling, I play sports like cricket, football, volleyball and handball.
I am very lucky to have support from different quarters-parents, wife Savi, trainers, relatives and friends. In 2011, my dad was detected with cancer. But my friends persuaded me to go for my scheduled training in USA before the tournament, while they took care of his treatment at the hospital.
I am looking forward to the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and most importantly the Olympics at Rio in 2016. My fitness level is high and I am getting the best training. On a regular day, I train twice but when there is an important tournament I do an extra session every day. Be it working out at the gym or training at the akhada, I try to give my 100 per cent. We do a lot of weight training and cardio exercises. After training one needs to eat well, I prefer vegeterian meals only.