Girl from a family of masons turns wrestler

Girl from a family of masons turns wrestler

She comes from a family of masons in Odisha's Dhenkanal district but she was attracted towards wrestling.

"Since my childhood I have always seen my father working with bricks and cement at construction sites. When my father saw me wrestling with girls of my age, he encouraged me," 24-year-old Rambha Sahu said.

Rambha's interest in the sport took wings when a selection team was impressed with her physique and talent, and admitted her in the SAI hostel in 2003.
She was provided scholarship of Rs 500 per month and school uniform.

"My coach (Bhatt) taught me wrestling skills till he was transferred to another place. And then I was trained by national coach Sib Charan Bose till he retired in 2007.

"Thereafter, I continued to practice with a couple of other girls. Finally my dream to represent the country ended when the hostel was closed permanently," she said.
But Rambha never gave up in her pursuit to make wrestling a career. "I enrolled in Indira Gandhi Open University to continue both studies and wrestling."

She said, "I represented the state and university competitions. Though I won medals at university and inter-district levels, I failed a podium finish at national championships due to physically superior girls from Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, who get good help from their respective state governments."

Rambha, who last played a competition in November last year, represented in the 59 kg category in the inter-state competitions, was also trained by former national wrestling coach Sib Charan Bose.

Now at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala to complete a coaching stint, Rambha said, "The training at the institute is for 18 months. I hope to complete it successfully, so that I may get job as a coach."

"Due to paucity of funds, I could not get nutritious food which is needed for a power game like wrestling…so I am determined to become a wrestling coach to produce champion women wrestlers, and help them with nutritious food," she said.

Recalling his coaching stint with Rambha, the 64-year-old Bose said, "She is the first woman to go to Patiala from Odisha. If she completes the training successfully, she would also be the first woman from Odisha as a wrestling coach."

Bose said had Rambha got financial support from any public or private sector, she would have done much better. He observed that wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt’s medal-winning performance in the just concluded London Olympics would attract more youngsters taking to the mat.

"Their success and the huge cash rewards that followed will not only boost Sushil and Yogeshwar’s confidence but also many other youngsters will sit up and take note of wrestling," he said.

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