Every little effort made in the right direction yields positive results. The Hari Ram Indian Wrestling Grand Prix has succeeded in doing that in its inaugural year itself. The Pakistan team management, which is here with the men's squad, is making efforts to field a women's team from the next edition onwards.
“We have decided to write to our federation to allow us to field a women’s team. We have the talent to compete at the highest level,” said coach Anwar Ali. Ali feels it won't be easy to convince his country’s federation but says he will try. “In a country like ours where our culture doesn't permit women to play this sport, it will be difficult to convince the officials but we will fight,” said the former Olympian.
The coach said the biggest hurdle is the costume of the wrestlers. “We have girls playing judo and wushu with heads covered. If we can sort this issue, we can have a team too.”
The other issue, according to Ali, is lack of infrastructure as Pakistan doesn't have a single wrestling hall provided by the federation and the government grant of R10 lakh is just too little.
Meanwhile, India had a good concluding day, with the men's team winning a gold and two bronze medals. Praveen Rana (66kg) beat Lobjanidze of Georgia 3-0, 2-0 to finish on top. In the same category, Manoj Kumar finished third. Pawan Kumar won bronze in the 84kg category.
The men's team championship was won by Georgia with 55 points followed by Iran (52) and India (50). The hosts finished with two gold, a similar number of silver and bronze.
The women's team championship went to Mongolia with 54 points. India were fourth with 49 points, with a silver and two bronze.