By our correspondent
LAHORE: Multan’s Sanwal Jhakar pehalwan, whose original name is Rana Faisal Mumtaz, was on Sunday crowned Rustam-e-Punjab when he conquered Sher-e-Sahiwal Mohammad Awais Tairanwala after a gripping title fight here at the Punjab Stadium.
“I am really happy with the way I won the title” Sanwal told reporters after his excellent win against a very good grappler.
“I had worked very hard for this fight and God has gifted it. My next target is Rustam-e-Pakistan. I am ready for that. I am also eager to play international fights” Sanwal added.
He said he had to work five hours a day, saying wrestlers need high incentives. He said the prize money which he got for this title victory will only meet his one month diet expenses.
In front of the cheering crowd both wrestlers demonstrated fine skills. Awais seemed aggressive in the start and left Sanwal unsettled on few occasions but Sanwal foiled all his attempts.
Sanwal, whose weight is 150 kg, in the end unleashed a super trick that gifted him the crown.
Three-time world champion Mohammad Inam and Rustam-e-Pakistan Zaman Anwar supervised the title show which was enjoyed by the thick crowd under floodlights.
Director General of Sports Board Punjab Dr Asif Tufail handed Sanwal a cash prize of Rs 350,000 and the Rustam-e-Punjab title.
The runner-up Mohammad Awais was presented a cheque of Rs250,000.
Meanwhile Mohammad Shehzad Puchar of Muzaffargarh defeated Adnan Yousuf of Gujranwala to lift the sher-e-Punjab title.
It was also a battle of nerves with either wrestler making every effort to foil each other’s tricks. However, Shehzad seemed a better fighter and managed a fine win in the end.
Both fighters were handed over a prize money of Rs100,000 each.
As many as 35 fights were organized in the Rustam-e-Punjab dangal which was held under the auspices of Sports Board Punjab and Pakistan Wrestling Federation.
The country’s top four wrestlers including Mohammad Inam, Zaman Anwar, Mohammad Asif Mochi and Tayyab Raza did not feature in the event.
Inam and Zaman are undergoing training in Gujranwala for the Olympics Qualifiers, Asif Mochi, the runner-up of the last Rustam-e-Pakistan, was sick while Tayyab Raza is going to get married on February 8.
Pakistan’s premier mat wrestler Mohammad Bilal also witnessed the fights.
“Desi kushti needs a push. I will say if we put a foreign element in it so it will add to its popularity,” Mohammad Inam told this correspondent.
“People wat change and if we put a few foreign wrestlers in such events it will add to its fame,” said Inam, also two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
By our correspondent