Wrestling

Rahul-Aware

Wrestling   |   September 26, 2019

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For Maharashtra’s Rahul Aware, the grind continues

India’s 30 wrestler strong contingent at the Wrestling World Championsling in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan created history, as five wrestlers went on to capture medals in their respective weight categories, making it India’s most successful foray at the event. While the usual suspects, like Bajrang and Deepak Punia as well as Vinesh Phogat headed the list of India’s medal winners, rookie competitor Ravi Dahiya and veteran Rahul Aware surprised a few with their wins. However, there’s something else as well that makes Aware stand out from the rest of the pack.

While the other four winners hail from wrestling powerhouse Haryana, Aware is from Beed in Maharashtra, not quite known from its grappling prowess. Aware is the first Indian born in Maharashtra to capture a medal at the World Championships. And while his victory was one that etched his name in history, it came at a cost.

The 61 kg category that Aware competed in is not an official Olympic weight category. Aware usually fights in the 57 kg category but decided to try his hand in the 61 kg at the Championships. His decision opened a spot for Dahiya, who went on to clinch bronze and booked his berth for the Olympics, knocking Aware out of contention. Aware’s options are further limited as World No.1 Bajrang Punia grapples in the 65 kg category and has also sealed his place on the plane to Tokyo in 2020. These results meant Aware is likely to take in his Olympics experience from afar. But according to the 27-year-old, he has no regrets.

“I faltered at the last hurdle in several top events. Since I was capable, I won this medal. Better late than never,” Aware said in an interview. “I will try for (to qualify) in the next Olympics. Nowadays wrestlers are stretching their career up to 38-40 years. Sushil Kumar is a prime example. One has to stay away from injuries to have a long career.”

Aware, also a Commonwealth gold medalist and a deputy superintendent under the sports quota in his state, wants to take his impact beyond the wrestling mat. He hopes to open a wrestling school to re-establish Maharashtra as an Indian wrestling powerhouse and hopes to get state aid to get his project underway. His Olympics dream may have faded for now, but Aware hopes to make good use of his position to ensure a bright future for his state and his nation.

Written by: Sportz Interactive