India’s Kurash contingent, which did not have money to even pay for its kits, has beaten all odds to land medals at the Asian Games through teenager Pincky Balhara.
How Balhara got to the Asian Games is a fascinating story. The team had to go to Uzbekistan for a 20-day training camp ahead of the Games and help came from her village. “People in my village pooled in Rs 1.75 lakh to send me to training camp. They all have supported me a lot. I am forever indebted to them,” said a teary-eyed Balhara
Balhara hails from Neb Sarai village in Delhi, made history by winning the silver in the 52kg category. The sport is making its debut at the Asian Games.
It is a remarkable effort from Pincky in a sport that is almost unheard of in India. Questions were raised about the team’s participation at the Games and the Indian Olympic Association had said the athletes would have to pay for their kits as they come from a non-recognized Kurash Association of India (KAI). KAI is not even recognized by the Sports Ministry but after Tuesday’s outcome, that could soon be a reality.
Kurash, a sport popular in Central Asia, is played while standing while one can also push the opponent to the ground in judo. Balhara has won judo medals in international competitions and was instant medal prospect at the Asian Games.
Kurash is a traditional martial art from Uzbekistan that resembles wrestling. The 19-year-old Pinky Balhara went down to Uzbekistan’s Sulaymanova Gulnor 0-10 in the summit clash to win the silver.
Congratulations to Pincky Balhara. We are proud of her and best wishes to her future endeavors.
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