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Pune’s Abhijit Katke wrestles his way to maiden Maharashtra Kesari title

Before the final whistle, Abhijit Katke used the ‘Bharandaj’ move against Satara’s Kiran Bhagat to secure two points, turning the table for the Pune wrestler to register a 10-7 win in the widely popular wrestling event

pune Updated: Dec 24, 2017 23:54 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Abhijit Katke,wrestles
Abhijit Katke lifts the Silver Mace after winning his maiden Maharashtra Kesari title.(HT PHOTO)

City’s Abhijit Katke laid his hands on the prestigious Maharashtra Kesari title beating Kiran Bhagat 10-7 at the Mamasaheb Mohol wrestling complex, Bhugaon on Sunday.

The hard-fought encounter started with a controversy as Bhagat complained about an improper movement from Katke and was seen nursing his injured left hand. His supporters were expecting a warning to the Pune wrestler, but the referees continued the match without any points.

Abhijit, known for his aggressive style, started with some good moves and raced to a 3-1 lead in the first round. In the second round, Bhagat took advantage of his agility and tried to come back in the game.

On the other hand, Bhagat’s coach complained that Katke, again, used improper techniques, resulting in a further injury to Bhagat.

The referees, this time, supported the protest and awarded two points to Bhagat and the score was equalised to 3-3. Bhagat then found the rhythm and with an effective ‘Hafta’ move, garnered four points and took a 7-4 lead. For the first time, he was in the lead in the bout.

In an attempt to increase the lead, Bhagat tried another ‘Hafta’ move, but this time, Abhijit was cautious and he counter-attacked to garner two points. With a confidence boost, he again won two points and when only 40 seconds were remaining for the final whistle, he used the ‘Bharandaj’ move to secure two points again. These six points turned the tables for the Pune wrestler as he registered a 10-7 win.

Fifth generation of wrestling in the Katke family

Abhijit Katke. ( HT PHOTO )

For the Katke family, wrestling is nothing new as they have been following the sport since the past five generations.

Even though his father and grandfather didn’t succeed in any major tournaments, they had a keen interest in the sport and supported Abhijit since his childhood. Abhijit is currently appearing externally for his Class 12 exams and trains with Amar Nimbalkar at Shivramdada Talim in Pune. He also takes guidance from Bharat Mhaske, Hanmant Gaikwad and Gulab Patel. “Strength and raw power are Abhijit’s main weapons. He takes advantage of his weight and tries to overpower his opponent,” said Nimbalkar about his ward.

Abhijit’s day starts at 4.30am and along with traditional wrestling techniques, he also spends an equal time at the gym. He aims to qualify for the Olympics in near future.

Huge crowd and sheer chaos

Abhijit Katke (red), known for his aggressive style, started with some good moves and raced to a 3-1 lead in the first round. ( HT PHOTO )

The final of the prestigious tournament attracted more than 50,000 wrestling enthusiasts on Sunday evening.

This resulted in total chaos on the Bhugaon road as the streets were blocked by vehicles. The traffic control department were trying their best but the residents faced inconvenience due to the blockade. The venue read the same story as it failed to accommodate such a huge crowd. A big screen was installed outside the complex for the enthusiasts, yet the stadium was jam-packed and spectators were finding it difficult to even stand at one place. After the entry of both wrestlers, the excited crowd rushed to the main area to get a better view and organisers were helpless in controlling them. Finally, the police force came to the rescue and managed to control the situation.

From mud pit to hospital

Anil Jadhav (red ribbon) of Karmala, who was injured during a wrestling match. ( Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTo )

In the mud category, Anil Jadhav of Karmala was playing against Vikram Ghorpade. During an intense moment, his head hit the ground after which he couldn’t get up. Finally, an ambulance was called and he was carried out on a stretcher. The wrestler’s health updates are not known.

First Published: Dec 24, 2017 23:54 IST