This article dives into the rich fabric of Indian wrestling, detailing the experiences and accomplishments of some of the sport’s most famous characters. From the legendary “Great Gama” to contemporary stars like Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya, each wrestler has made an unforgettable mark on the nation’s sporting tradition.
The story spans decades, demonstrating the progression of Indian wrestling from Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav’s era to the modern-day skill of Vinesh Phogat and Deepak Punia.
Top 10 Famous Indian Wrestlers
|Name of Wrestlers
|Ravi Kumar Dahiya
|The Great Gama
1. Sushil Kumar
Sushil Kumar is perhaps the best Indian wrestler of the modern age and the most divisive. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he earned India’s first Olympic medal since 1952. Sushil Kumar is well-known for his skilled but aggressive wrestling abilities. He rag-dolled his competition even at the top levels. Indian wrestler from Haryana
Kumar was the first Indian to win a gold medal at the World Championships in 2010. Sushil Kumar missed the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics after catching a stomach virus just before the finals. He failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and was accused of destroying Narsingh Yadav’s career by tying him up in a doping controversy involving illegal supplements.
2. Geeta Phogat
Geeta Phogat is a well-known female wrestler in India who helped to establish women’s wrestling in the country. Phogat and her sister Babita were taught by their father, veteran wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, who recognized the enormous potential in the pair. Girls were not allowed to wrestle in most regions of the country then.
Geeta, with the assistance and support of her family, overcame the social restrictions to become one of India’s best female wrestlers. Aamir Khan’s Dangal was even based on the Phogat family. Geeta Phogat won India’s first gold medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010. female wrestler in India
3. Bajrang Punia
Bajrang Punia, a tough Indian wrestler from Haryana, has created a spectacular niche in the sport. Despite his injuries, Punia’s irrepressible spirit shines through, demonstrating his extraordinary athleticism and fast reflexes. A pioneer in Indian wrestling, he is the only Indian wrestler to win four medals (1 silver, 3 bronze) at the prestigious World Championships.
His spectacular career includes gold medals at the Asian Games and two Commonwealth Games gold medals. Punia’s career ended with a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where he showed unrivaled dedication. Punia defeated Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov 8-0 despite suffering a knee injury. Indian wrestler from Haryana
4. Yogeshwar Dutt,
Yogeshwar Dutt, a prominent wrestler from the Indian state of Haryana, personifies perseverance and triumph over hardship. Dutt began his wrestling career at a young age and overcame various obstacles to become a pillar in the sport, leaving an unforgettable impact on the global arena. His illustrious career includes victories at the Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games, firmly establishing him as one of India’s most accomplished wrestlers.
Beyond his personal accomplishments, Dutt’s influence extends to teaching the next generation of wrestling talent, such as Bajrang Punia and Ravi Kumar Dahiya, passing on his vital experience and motivating a new generation of Indian wrestlers. In a major departure from his wrestling career, Dutt joined the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Dal (BJP). Indian wrestler from Haryana
5. Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, also known as K.D. Jadhav made his place in Indian sports history as Independent India’s first individual Olympic medalist. Despite his small stature, Jadhav’s wrestling skills and lightning-fast quickness set him apart. His best achievement occurred in 1952, when he won a bronze medal in Helsinki, a landmark occasion for the country.
Aside from his extraordinary physical achievements, Jadhav continued to contribute to the sport as a wrestling instructor, passing on his knowledge to future generations. His legacy is notable not just for breaking down barriers as India’s first individual Olympic medalist, but also for his long-lasting influence on wrestling development in the country. K.D. Jadhav’s path continues to inspire, demonstrating the resilience and determination that paved the way.
6. Deepak Punia
Deepak Punia, a rising star in Indian wrestling, has quickly established himself as a worldwide force to be reckoned with. Punia’s achievements include a silver medal in the 2019 World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, where he competed in the 86 kg weight class. His success continued at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where he earned another silver medal for his skill and determination.
Apart from his successes on the mat, Punia is also a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Indian Army, demonstrating a worthy dedication to both sport and national service. Deepak Punia, with his potential talent and determination, is a beacon of hope for Indian wrestling, and his journey continues to inspire aspiring wrestlers. Indian wrestler from Haryana
7. Vinesh Phogat
Vinesh Phogat, a notable member of the illustrious Phogat wrestling family, is from Haryana and carries on the legacy of her uncle, renowned coach Mahavir Singh Phogat. Vinesh’s wrestling career peaked at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she demonstrated exceptional technique before an injury in the quarterfinals ended her medal aspirations.
Unafraid of adversity, Vinesh staged an incredible return two years later, winning gold medals at both the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. Her victory not only demonstrated her tenacity but also cemented her place as one of India’s most skilled female wrestlers. Vinesh Phogat’s path shows the spirit of perseverance and tenacity, encouraging ambitious athletes and notably contributing to the growth and prominence of women’s wrestling in India.
female wrestler in India
8. Ravi Kumar Dahiya
Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Haryana’s prodigy Indian wrestler, made his name in Indian sports history with a brilliant performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Dahiya’s extraordinary journey concluded with a silver medal gained through pure guts and dedication at the age of 23. Faced with a big 9-point deficit in the semifinal, he staged a spectacular comeback, pinning his opponent in the final moments and achieving a thrilling victory by fall.
Dahiya’s persistence and skill emerged throughout the event, despite losing the final on points. His Olympic silver medal adds to an already outstanding career that includes gold medals at the Asian and Commonwealth Games. Ravi Kumar is an actor. Dahiya is a shining example of Indian potential.
9. Sakshi Malik
Sakshi Malik is regarded as a pioneer in Indian women’s wrestling, having made an unmistakable impression on the sport. Her historic performance in the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she won bronze, was a watershed moment for Indian wrestling, as she became the country’s first female Olympic medalist. Malik, who took the place of the renowned Geeta Phogat in the competition, showed her readiness and resilience on the big stage. female wrestler in India
Malik, who is now working for the Indian Railways, continues to contribute to the advancement of the sport. Her latest gold medal victory at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham demonstrates her outstanding skill and enduring ability. Sakshi Malik’s story exemplifies the spirit of perseverance and triumph, motivating aspiring female athletes and cementing her reputation as a role model.
10. Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt
Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, often known as The Great Gama, was an unstoppable force in wrestling under British India. Gama, who was born in Amritsar, made an unrivaled legacy by remaining unbeaten during his remarkable career. His brilliance peaked when he won the Rustam-e-Hind title, establishing his domination in Indian wrestling.
Due to a lack of formidable opponents in India, Gama sought out international challenges, where he defeated renowned wrestlers and judokas, demonstrating his outstanding talents and persistence. His undefeated record and extraordinary accomplishments inspired not only the wrestling community but also crossed disciplines, attracting the attention and adoration of none other than Bruce Lee, the great martial artist.
Gama’s unrivaled abilities, along with a rigorous training routine, cemented his place in history.
Q. Who is Sushil Kumar’s wrestling idol?
A. Sushil Kumar is inspired by Aleksandr Karelin, a notable international wrestler and Olympic gold medalist.
Q. What Is Geeta Phogat’s Current Wrestling Role?
A. Geeta Phogat has turned to coaching and is actively involved in developing new wrestling potential in India.
Q. Ravi Kumar Dahiya, did you play any other sports before wrestling?
A. Ravi Kumar Dahiya began his athletic career in boxing before transitioning to wrestling, demonstrating his broad athletic background.
Q. Sakshi Malik’s Wrestling Career Began How?
A. Sakshi Malik began wrestling at the age of 12 after being pushed by her father, who spotted her inherent talent.
Q. What Is Vinesh Phogat’s Strategy for Empowering Women Through Wrestling?
A. Vinesh Phogat actively promotes women’s empowerment via wrestling and frequently participates in projects that encourage female participation in the sport.
Resilience, tenacity, and unrivaled skill have defined the stories of these athletes in the world of Indian wrestling. From K.D. Jadhav’s historic victories to Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia’s modern successes, each wrestler’s journey embodies the essence of India’s wrestling culture. The heritage of the Phogat family, Yogeshwar Dutt’s unrivaled contribution, and the ground-breaking performances of Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik demonstrate the sport’s diversity and quality.
With rising talents like Deepak Punia and Vinesh Phogat continuing to make headlines as the torch is transferred from generation to generation, the future of Indian wrestling appears bright. These wrestlers’ stories reflect not only their successes but also the collective attitude of a nation that takes great pride in its wrestling legacy.