The Dasara celebrations in Mysuru took an interesting turn this year when 28 women participated in an arm wrestling contest organised there on Monday.
Though such contests have been taking place for the last two years, this was the first time they were awarded prize money – making the sport officially part of the Dasara celebrations in Mysuru henceforth.
The participants took part in seven different categories according to their weight, which ranged from 50kg to 80kg.
“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,” D. Ravi Kumar, convenor of the Dasara Wrestling Sub-Committee, told The Hindu.
Most women participants of the contest were professional wrestlers.
One of them was national wrestling champion Rita Priyanka, who won the contest in the 65kg category. She said that the reason behind the great turnout for the contest was that both wrestling and arm wrestling was held at the same venue, unlike the previous years.
Her father told the publication that he got his daughter into wrestling as his son refused to be part of it. He said that Rita had been participating in wrestling competitions for more than ten years now – a time when it was considered not even the last career choice for women.
The Hindu also reported that Lina Antony, a member of the Siddi tribe from Doddakoppa in Uttar Kannada district, was also part of the arm wrestling contest. She belongs to a tribe whose ancestors have been traced to Africa.