India's Satinder Singh defeats Lahore's Khoyewala at a much-publicised contest

India and Pakistan wrestled — literally — in traditional ‘kushti dangal' style in Lahore on Monday evening for top honours in the India-Pakistan Dangal competition that resumed last week between the two countries after a gap of three years.

While India's Satinder Singh walked away with the mace-shaped trophy after beating Pakistan's Shahid Khoyewala, the Lahore-based wrestler put up a brave front and said he was prepared for more such matches with traditional wrestlers from India.

For Satinder Singh, this was a second victory in the tournament; having won his first bout on Saturday in Gujranwala — also known as the ‘city of wrestlers' for having produced some leading wrestlers and bodybuilders of the subcontinent.

His compatriot Jagroop Singh, however, was less fortunate; losing a match to his Pakistani rival in Gujranwala after breaking his arm.

The two teams were thus poised evenly when they entered the competition in Lahore's floodlit Punjab Stadium on Monday evening.

Though the main bout itself was over in a few minutes with Satinder Singh getting the better of Khoyewala, considerable amount of build-up was organised for the clash between the two. For nearly two hours, several bouts were organised between local wrestlers and the stands were relatively full despite it being a weekday.

Traditional wrestlers were particularly pleased with the organisation of the event as, according to them, such contests would keep the sport alive in the Punjab.

Mainstream Pakistani media also gave it considerable coverage with at least six news channels airing the bout live and whipping up interest in the contest through the day with capsules in their bulletins.

Satinder Singh was moved by the affection and respect he got during his short stay in Pakistan. In his fleeting interaction with the media, he said: “You people have given me so much love and affection. I really enjoyed my stay here.”

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