Akhara shocked by Tomar's fall from grace
Rajiv Tomar is nothing less than an icon in wrestling circles, and the pride of the Guru Hanuman Akhara - the wrestling den that still holds pride of place in India despite the founder, Guru Hanuman, passing away more than a decade back. Ajai Masand reports.Updated: Sep 03, 2010 00:02 IST
Rajiv Tomar is nothing less than an icon in wrestling circles, and the pride of the Guru Hanuman Akhara - the wrestling den that still holds pride of place in India despite the founder, Guru Hanuman, passing away more than a decade back.
On August 29, when Tomar received the highest sporting honour, the Arjuna Award, he added one more trophy to the already overflowing cupboard that lies on the foot of a gigantic portrait of Guru Hanuman.
Wrestlers as young as six, who are left at the door of the akhara to learn the ancient art in mud-pits, look to this senior pros for inspiration.
And Tomar is not just the most decorated grappler at the akhara, he is said to be the most disciplined of pupils of Mahasingh Rao, the Dronacharya Awardee.
With a record 35 Bharat Kesari and Hind Kesari titles, Tomar, the 120kg freestyle grappler, is the cynosure of all other akharas around.
But on Thursday, the mood in the akhara was of disbelief - of how the 29-year-old, who walked into the akhara as a 12-year-old from Mallakpur village in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh, could do such a thing.
"There is some misunderstanding," Rao told HT. "He had suffered a relapse of cold and cough on July 30 and had gone to a doctor in Kamla Nagar. All the wrestlers go there when they fall sick," said Rao.
"I don't believe he can do such a thing, Tomar has the doctor's prescription, which he had furnished before the trials at Sonepat's Sports Authority of India centre on August 8. We are going to appeal against the positive test," said Rao.
"Tomar has two Commonwealth Championship gold and a silver, has represented the country in the Olympics, has won silver in Olympic qualifiers and bagged grand prix titles all around the world, but has never come under the cloud of dope," said Rao about the grappler, who is a Head TT in the Railways based in Delhi.
"But this is not the end of the world. We will appeal for the ‘B' sample test. He is a fighter.
"He came back from a debilitating knee injury, which needed an operation and took two years to heal. So, he will fight and be back in the team."
But for once, the image of the akhara that boasts of more than a dozen Arjuna awardees, has taken a beating.