In conversation with Vikram Behl, a wrestler at Guru Jasram Akhada, Delhi

Q- Where are you from?

I am basically from Alipur village of Delhi. I live here in this akhada because it’s hard to travel every day. I have joined this akhada over 15 years ago, when I was 13 years old.

Q- Have you completed your schooling?

Yes, I have completed my schooling from Delhi. I have done my graduation through Jamia Millia Islamia University. I have done my post-graduation through Meghalaya University. Nowadays it is important to complete your studies even for a job or further things.

Q- Have you done wrestling in your school?

Yes, I am a NATIONAL LEVEL GOLD MEDALIST in my school. I have also won in STATE LEVEL CHAMPIONSHIP. School created a base for me in my wrestling career. It is important to be a part of school level wrestling championship because it made me aware for my future plans.

Q- What kind of family background do you have?

My father is a farmer and my mother is a housewife. They live in the village.

Q- Did your family support you?

Yes, I have my family’s support from the beginning. My father wanted me to be a wrestler. It was his dream that I should be a wrestler, he has been my inspiration till now.

Q- What are your major achievements in this profession?

I have won:

  • GOLD MEDAL IN NATIONAL LEVEL WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP.
  • BRONZE MEDAL IN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP.
  • SILVER MEDAL IN ALL INDIA UNIVERSTING WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP.
  • BRONZE MEDAL IN ALL INDIA WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP.
  • ‘BHARAT KESARI’ TWICE.
  • ‘DELHI KESARI’ THRICE.
  • GOLD MEDAL IN DELHI WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP.
  • 4 TIME GOLD MEDAL IN STATE LEVEL WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP.
  • 16 DANGAL FIGHTS.

Q-Even after so many medals why don’t you have a government job?

I have an injury in my finger so I am not able to get a job. I have got job in Orrisa but I can’t do wrestling there. It is very hard for me get over my financial needs. There are very low facilities for wrestlers in our country.

Q- So how do you maintain your financial needs?

My family supports me financially. I have also won many DANGALS and many prize money.
I have won the highest prize money of Rs.1, 50, 0000, and of Rs.51, 000, Rs.21, 000. So these fights financially help me.

Q- What kind of routine do you have?

I wake up at 4am and run for 3kms. There were no stadium facilities that is why I go for jogging. We practice here in the morning as well as in the evening for 5 hours every day. We don’t have gym facilities also so I climb on the ropes, do sit ups and push- ups. These kind of exercises help in strengthening my power. Every student here do kushti for 3 hours.

Q- What kind of hurdles do you face in your training?

We don’t have any international coach here. Our senior Azad ji train us here only. We have the best wrestlers here in our akhada but still we didn’t get any attention of Delhi or Indian government. Only Guru ji came here to train us and teach these young students. We don’t have gym facilities here, which is a hard thing for our young boys. The living space is also less here, there are no good facilities provided to our wrestlers. As a wrestler we have to face a lot of hurdles in our training as well as in our career. We have to look upon a lot of things at a time. We have to complete our studies also. It is very hard for a wrestler to complete their graduation as well as post-graduation due to a lot of stress as well as due to financial crisis. Wrestling as a sport is still not very famous in our country. As a wrestler it is difficult to survive in this society which is based on educational background. No one respects this sport very much. The popularity of cricket and football is much more than wrestling but the hard work which the wrestlers have to do is much more than of other sports persons.

Q- What kind of income sources do you have?

I am doing a job of bouncer in the night. It is shameful for my kind of wrestlers too do a job like this. I have won a lot of medals but still I am doing this kind of job just to fulfill my financial needs.

Q- So how you help your mates in getting any job?

Some wrestlers get government jobs but those who didn’t get any government jobs are helpless. I have helped many of my friends to get a private job. Many were bouncers in clubs as well as a security in charge.

Q- What kind of diet is given you?

I usually take high protein, fat and oil free diet. I take milk with almond thrice a day usually. I take 2kg milk each day for energy and endurance. I usually take low spicy diet. We are not allowed to take any kind of junk food.

Q- Do you have any vacations?

We don’t have any vacations. We have rest on Sunday only.

Q- What you do on Sunday?

We take rest on Sunday. I practice in the morning and take rest for whole day.

Q- What are the upcoming tournaments for which you are preparing?

We are going to conduct tournament in our village with the help of Guru ji. We are having this tournament for promoting kushti at village level. Young wrestlers will participate in this tournament. We all are preparing ourselves for this tournament.