KIYG 2023: How Ram Yadav became a guiding light for his brothers’ wrestling success

Chennai, Jan 29 (IANS) Few years back, Manu Yadav was contemplating quitting wrestling due to financial constraints before his elder brother, Ram Gopal Yadav came forward to shoulder the additional burden and asked him to focus on the game. The sacrifice of his brother came good as Manu Yadav found success in the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games in Tamil Nadu.

At that time, the 17-year-old from the remote Rasmara village, some 14 km from Durg in Chhattisgarh state, had to take up odd jobs at one of the steel factories and meeting ends was a challenge for the family.

But now things have turned around for the better with Manu picking up a silver medal at the Khelo India Youth Games 2023 on Sunday after going down to Haryana’s Anil Mor in the Greco Roman 55kg category final.

“My family has been my backbone, I loved sports but it was only after my brother motivated me, that I took it up seriously. It’s my third appearance in the Khelo India Youth Games, and I’m happy to get my second medal. I won a gold in the previous edition,” said Manu, who recently won the 2023 Under-17 World championship bronze.

Ram Gopal, 25, was previously a wrestler but lack of guidance and financial backing forced him to work as a daily wage earner in a steel factory, where their parents also worked as labourers. However, he didn’t want the opportunity to slip out of his younger brother’s hands and decided to take on the challenge.

He soon took up a job as a Physical Education teacher in a private school in Durg, and with his first salary decided to travel to a couple of akhadas in Haryana to get a feel of how improved the facilities are in the Northern state, and if something similar could be worked out back in their village.

Back home in Durg, Ram Gopal along with Satyendra Nishad, another friend from the nearby Siloda village, decided to get their younger siblings Manu and Abhishek Nishad some basic training there, and later send them to either Delhi or Haryana for better prospects.

On Saturday, Abhishek bagged his first Khelo India Youth Games medal in the form of a silver after losing the Greco Roman 60kg final to Maharashtra grappler Samarth.

“I’m happy that Manu is gradually getting the benefits of the hard work he has put in. He now trains in Narela (Delhi) at the Guru Virender wrestling academy. The coaches are putting in a lot of effort, and it can be seen from his performances,” Ram Gopal said.

“Abhishek has also started performing well. He and Manu are in the same academy today. It’s a proud moment for us, who wanted to promote the sport at all costs,” he added.

Ram Gopal said that it was still very difficult to make ends meet with his meagre salary of Rs 8,000 from the private school, but that doesn’t deter him from supporting his brother’s dreams and training the budding wrestlers back home.

“It is never easy to manage with such a meagre amount, but I don’t want to make it an excuse. These things will distract the younger ones. We have another 30-35 kids training under us back home, they are our hopes,” he said.



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