An arm wrestling contest organised as part of Dasara celebrations in Mysuru on Monday turned out to be quite popular among women.
A total of 28 women participated in the contest in seven different categories for participants ranging from 50 kgs to 80 kgs.
Though these contests were organised during Dasara celebrations in the last two years too, the sport was not officially part of the Dasara events and prize money was not awarded to winners. This is the first year that prize money has been offered to winners.
“The popularity of arm wrestling among women is expected to increase in the coming years. Most women were not acquainted with the sport. Now, after witnessing bouts this year, more are expected to participate in the coming years,” said D. Ravi Kumar, Convenor, Dasara Wrestling Sub-Committee.
With most of the women participants being wrestlers, Rita Priyanka, a national wrestling champion, who won the arm wrestling contest in the 65 kg category on Monday, said the contest attracted more participants this year as wrestling and arm wrestling were held at the same venue.
Previously, arm wrestling contests were held at Chamundi Vihar complex while wrestling contests were held at D. Devaraj Urs Multipurpose stadium.
Ms. Priyanka’s father Antony Raj, himself a retired wrestler, said he promoted his daughter in wrestling as his son was not interested. Mr. Raj said his daughter began participating in wrestling competitions more than ten years ago when it was considered very unconventional for women to wrestle.
He said he was proud of his daughter, who has been chosen to represent India in the Asian Arm Wrestling Championship scheduled to be held in Kazhakstan in the coming weeks.
The arm wrestling contest also attracted the participation of Lina Antony, a member of the Siddi tribe from Doddakoppa in Haliyal in Uttar Kannada district. The ancestors of this tribe have been traced to Africa.