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Fight starts in wrestling ring without shining star

- Busy in pre-Olympic camp, bronze winner Sushil Kumar gives centenary event a miss

Patna, March 12: Eleven teams have arrived in the state capital for the Bihar Centenary Year All India Federation Cup Wrestling tournament, which was inaugurated today at the Patliputra Sports Complex. Star wrestler Sushil Kumar, however, gave the tournament a miss.

Fifteen teams were invited for the two-day event.

Eleven teams from Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Service Sports Control Board, Chandigarh, Tripura and Bihar are taking part in the two-day event, which has been organised after almost 17 years.

Sources said Olympian Sushil Kumar is busy preparing at pre-Olympic camps.

The male and female competitors at the tournament have been divided on the basis of their weight.

The tournament is being conducted in two categories — Greco-Roman and freestyle. While the men can participate in both categories, women can only take part in freestyle.

Inaugurating the tournament, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said: “It is a proud moment for us that Bihar is holding such a mega (wrestling) tournament after 40 years. The tournament is being held to mark the centenary celebrations.”

The deputy chief minister also said cricket and soccer tournaments are held regularly, but rural games like kabaddi and wrestling are losing their sheen.

“Tournaments like the 1st Women’s World Cup Kabaddi (organised in Patna recently) and the federation cup are attempts to revive and popularise the rural games,” added Modi.

MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of Wrestling Federation of India, thanked the state government for holding such a mega event at the inaugural function.

He also urged the state government to hold international wrestling tournaments, assuring that he would do the needful to bring international teams to Patna for the events.

Mohit Huda, a wrestler who had participated in Asian Games, Doha, said: “It is very good that Bihar is organising the federation cup after 17 years, the tournament will also act as a moral booster for wrestlers from the state.”

State art, culture and youth affairs minister Sukhda Pandey said: “After organising kabaddi and wrestling tournaments, the Bihar government is also going to host adventure sports tournament in which mountaineer Santosh Yadav will participate.”