Commonwealth Heavyweight champion Sangram Singh: "I want to help aspiring sportsmen in India"
India’s Sangram U. Singh created history after being crowned the “Undisputed’ Champion at the WWP Commonwealth Wrestling Championship and becoming only the first Indian to achieve this feat. Sangram defeated Canadian wrestler, Joe Legend at the Nelson Mandela Ground in South Africa on 19th July 2015.
Sangram has been a battler all his life as he was struck with rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age. Despite being forced onto a wheelchair, Sangram never lost his appetite to dream big and overcame great financial instability to finally bask in glory.
His latest battle too didn’t come easy as he experienced a near death experience during his fight against the Canadian wrestler. Prior to the contest, Sangram had also put pen to paper to a ‘Last man standing contract’ which freed the organization of any blame had Sangram suffered any kind of fatal injury.
Speaking at a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday, Sangram spoke about his pride at becoming the first Indian to win the Championship, his commitment towards sports and helping the aspiring sportsmen in India, apart from giving a brief about his vision and plans of starting a Professional League for wrestling in India
On his heroic feat
Sangram expressed great pride in becoming the first Indian to win the WWP Commonwealth Championship and was glad he could achieve it after being a part of the sport for almost three years. “It was a great moment of pride for me to become the first Indian to win such an event. It was very difficult for me as I had not wrestled for the past three years, but the lucrative winners belt and the tri-color motivated me to a great extent”, said the champion
On helping out aspiring sportsmen in India
The man from Haryana stressed his commitment to help aspiring sportsmen meet his needs and declared that he would soon be setting up academies across the country for wrestlers. “There is a great amount of talent in India but it gets wasted mostly as we don’t dream big. I want to set an example and make them dream. I am also planning to set up wrestling academies in every city where I will give training to the poor, free of cost”.
Entertainment is great, but sport is always my priority
After featuring in shows like Big Boss and Nach Baliye, Sangram had all but praise for the entertainment industry, but felt sports will always be his first priority. “Entertainment industry is good. It has helped me reach every household and become famous and important. But sports is always my priority and I will use my fame for the betterment of sport”.
On starting a new professional league for wrestling
Sangram believes for every sport to grow in India, it must reach every household and he believed the only way to do so is by making the sport as professional as possible. “If you see cricket, it became huge as Jagmohan Dalmiya took it to every house. I want to do the same to wrestling. So I am planning to start a new professional league in India with the help of the association as well as the Government. I hope it will be ready sooner rather than later”.
On being a role model
Sangram believes he is looked up to by many youngsters and he takes this as a huge responsibility. “I know I am a role model for many and I must be responsible for those people. That is why I rejected an offer from a soft drink company to be its brand ambassador as by doing that I would be giving out a wrong signal”.
He was accompanied by his wife Payal Rohtagi who is a film star. She showcased her support for him by continuing to support him despite the obvious threat to his life. “I understand that his life was under threat. But wrestling is his passion and I feel everyone should have a right to pursue their own passions and we must respect it”, said the Bollywood star