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Punjab-origin woman wrestler to represent Australia in 2018 Commonwealth Games

Rupinder Kaur is among eight wresters --- five men and three women --- who will represent Australia in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

other sports Updated: Mar 05, 2018 16:13 IST
Hindustan Times, Tarn Taran (Punjab)
2018 Commonwealth Games,Rupinder Kaur,Tarn Taran
Wrestler Rupinder Kaur will compete for Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.(Getty Images)

Rupinder Kaur, who was born and brought up in Tarn Taran, has been selected in the Australian wrestling team for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast from April 4. Rupinder is among eight wresters --- five men and three women --- who will represent Australia in the CWG. She is the only Indian-origin grappler.

Rupinder, who did her schooling and started her wrestling career in Harike Pattan in Tarn Taran, said, “I will compete in the 50kg category.” She won gold in 48kg category in last year’s Australian National Championships in Sydney. She recently clinched bronze in 50kg category at the 13th Commonwealth Championships in Johannesburg.

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Rupinder said she had started off as a judoka when she was in Class VII. “When I was in Class XI, I developed a liking for a wrestling and played my first national a year later.”

“My father Kabal Singh Sandhu served the Indian Army and gave me full support. My grandparents were also very supportive,” she said.

Rupinder represented India in a competition in Turkey and bagged gold. “I also won silver at the National Games in Hyderabad in 2004,” she said.

In 2007, she moved to Australia for her studies. “As I had a keen desire to improve my wrestling skills, I started looking for a club. I met an international player Kuldeep Bassi, who started training me.”

Rupinder said she started competing in the Australian national games and got selected in the Australian Wrestling Association (AWA) in 2012. “The AWA sponsored me and I got my PR (permanent residency). After that I started competing at the international level and represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

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She got married in 2013 but continued with her wrestling. “After the birth of my daughter in 2016, I stopped playing for a year as had I gained weight. I had a caesarean C-section delivery and I had to think twice before returning to the wrestling ring as I needed a fairly significant period of time to recover.

“My doctor suggested that I be careful while doing high-impact sport within months of giving birth. At the same time, he said it was possible as I was physically strong,” she said.

“My two-year-old daughter Saheb is also my inspiration,” said Rupinder. She said her aim is to win a gold in Gold Coast.

First Published: Mar 05, 2018 15:07 IST