Sparring session between a Bengal arm-wrestler and a soldier on Sunday. Pictures by Amit Datta
||Arm-wrestler Sharat Singh’s daughter Isha during a friendly with a cadet at NCC Club House on the Maidan
John Rambo as sparring partner for Lincoln Hawk is not an Over the Top fantasy of a Sylvester Stallone diehard as Bengal’s boys with the bulging biceps added some military novelty to their workout on Sunday before the arm-wrestling nationals.
They wrestled military muscles and taught a few tricks to young volunteers from the National Cadet Corps at the NCC Club House on the Maidan.
The raw and robust talent of the boys in uniform almost floored the state’s champions, though they winced out a clean slate at the end of the day. After several bouts of laboured victories, Sharat Singh said: “The session was organised to break the monotony of our training sessions. Surprise, surprise, we found some raw talent in the NCC.” He will represent Bengal in 87kg class in the September 27-29 nationals in Guwahati.
For the cadets, competitive arm-wrestling with “elbow pads” and “touch pads” was not the panja they often engage in to settle friendly scores. The Bengal Arm wrestling Federation was unheard of until they were invited to the session.
Neither did they know that 200 arm-wrestlers sweat it out every day at clubs across the city.
“There are so many tricks I learnt today. One can use his body weight at strategic moments. There are wrist manoeuvres like hooking that can tilt the fight in your favour,” said Jai Sachdev of NCC, a first-year student of BBA (honours) at St. Xavier’s College.
“I will definitely put up a better fight next time,” he said after holding state heavyweight champion Elton Pattric McDermott for more than five seconds. The 6ft-4inch tall McDermott, who plays in 100kg-plus category, gave a convincing smile.
Commodore Sunil Minhas, the VMS who oversaw the session, said he was pleasantly surprised that so many cadets plucked up the courage to spar with the champions.
“The feedback is some of the cadets have good arms. It is also about stamina and endurance. We normally give our boys and girls training in team sports like football. But we will make an exception for arm-wrestling and ask the Calcutta Arm Wrestling Federation to organise more such sessions for us,” he said.
In the lighter class, wives and daughters of the Bengal arm-wrestlers were pitted against the girl cadets. Not a test of strength but a celebration of the sporting spirit! “I was nervous until walking up to the table for a bout with a cadet who was older than me. She could not win easily, though,” said Sharat Singh’s daughter Isha, a Class VI student of Modern High School for Girls.