Indian Olympic Association (IOA) mourned the death of wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh on Thursday, saying Indian wrestling has lost a guide and a mentor.
Dara Singh, who was battling for life for last five days, passed away early this morning. He was 83.
"Indian wrestling in 1950s and 1960s was synonymous with Dara Singh and there is no doubt he gave a new direction to this sport, which till that time was confined only to the rural areas of the country," IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said in his condolence message.
Winner of Rustam-E-Punjab (1966) and Rustam-E-Hind (1978) titles, Dara Singh retired from active wrestling in 1983. He was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from August 2003 to August 2009.
Malhotra said Dara Singh also raised the profile of wrestling and added glamour quotient to the sport.
"Dara Singh's rise to fame attracted youths to this game and gave them a sense of self belief. Indian wrestling will miss the genial giant. May his soul rest in peace," said Malhotra.