Ningappa Genannavar : The newest sensation puts Karnataka wrestling hub in spotlight

Ningappa Genannavar, the labour's son puts Karnataka wrestling hub in spotlight after defeating Amir Mohammad Saleh in the 45-kg freestyle catagory.

Payal Debnath
New Update
Ningappa Genannavar : The newest sensation puts Karnataka wrestling hub in spotlight

Ningappa Genannavar with his parents by The Indian Express

Ningappa Genannavar is the newest sensation of wrestling in North Karnataka. Arun Kumakale, a local wrestling coach has discovered the history of it's wrestling mad town and the journey of Ningappa.

Ningappa Genannavar with his parents. Image- The Indian Express

"Every house here in Mudhol has a wrestler, but not in Ninga — he has no house." said coach Arun Kumakale. By saying this two lines, he wants to capture the history of the wrestling crazy town of Northern Karnataka and the journey of the genius Ningappa Genannavar.

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Ningappa Genannavar is a son a homeless farm labourer couple. He comes in limelight for his strong defense and strong leg attack. On Thursday, the 17-year-old defeated Amir Mohammad Saleh in the 45kg freestyle category final of the Asian Under-17 Championship in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. His medal puts Karnataka wrestling hub in spotlight. It has remained in the shadow of the traditional hotbeds in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.

Ram Budaki, wrestling coach of the State Authority of India (SAI) said in a statement, "The place is most famous for the Mudhol Hound, the dogs are known all over India. The city's next best produce is its wrestlers."

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The 17-year-old once was rejected by sports schools of the state for his short stature and underweight. He is now the expert defender and has strong leg-attack. The homeless boy wants to clear his family's debt as his father had to borrow money to support his career. He also wants to build his own house.

Ningappa achieved the bronze medal only at the age of 15 in the National Championships in kota. After that, he was asked to participate in Sonepat's NCoE.

"It's a quaint little place. The Krishna River flows through the city, most of the people are farmers, and almost every household has a wrestler. It's a matter of pride. Every morning, you'll see dozens of young boys and girls at the garadis (akhadas)," says N R Narasimha, secretary of the Karnataka Wrestling Federation.

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