World Wrestling Championships: Better late than never, says Aware after bagging bronze

27-year-old Rahul Aware, a leading wrestler, regained his self belief after earning India’s fifth medal at the World Wrestling Championships.

Rahul Aware poses after bagging the bronze medal at the World Wrestling Championships.   -  PTI

Rahul Aware was overwhelmed with emotions after securing a bronze medal in men’s freestyle 61kg weight division at the World wrestling championships in Nur-Sultan.

27-year-old Aware – a leading wrestler who has won medals in Commonwealth Youth Games, Asian junior championships, Asian championships, Commonwealth championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games (gold) in the last decade or so – regained his self belief after earning India’s fifth medal at the elite event.

“Maybe I lacked a bit of luck as I faltered at the last hurdle in several top events. Since I was capable, I won this medal. Better late than never,” Aware told Sportstar on Monday.

Aware admitted that he was under pressure after losing to Georgian Beko Lomtadze in the semifinal. “I was really sad. I thought I missed yet another opportunity to get an important medal. My earlier failures played on the mind. I was in tension prior to the repechage bout as I had a tough fight with the USA opponent (Tyler Graff) on a previous occasion.

“I tried ‘fitley’ but it did not work. Finally, I was successful when I applied ‘tangi’ technique (using both legs to capture opponent’s leg).”

Aware, hails from a family of wrestlers in Patoda of Beed district in Maharashtra and learnt his first lessons of wrestling from his father and National level wrestler Balasaheb Aware.

He fine-tuned his game under late Harischandra Birajdar and then under famous grappler Kaka Pawar.

Aware did not regret that he could not get a medal in an Olympic weight division. “I will try for it in the next Olympics. Nowadays wrestlers are stretching their career up to 38-40 years. Sushil Kumar is a prime example. One has to stay away from injuries to have a long career,” he said.

Aware, who supports five talented wrestlers from Maharashtra by giving them a monthly stipend of Rs 5000 each from his own pocket, wants to re-establish his state as a wrestling powerhouse.

“We have the talent and the tradition. If I get some help from the Government, I can start an academy and produce some fine wrestlers,” he said.