Chhatrasal Stadium, which was recently the scene of the crime to one of the most sensational murders in Delhi, was on Thursday once again full of pride and glory when Ravi Dahiya, a disciple to this stadium, won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
The coaches, co-wrestlers and even the caretakers at the stadium believe Dahiya’s victory has washed away the blot that the killing of Sagar Dhankad, one of the wrestlers from the stadium, had brought to its name.
Dhankad was allegedly beaten to death by none other than the stadium’s very own Sushil Kumar, the two-time Olympic medalist wrestler, who was an idol to every wrestler at the stadium, until the night of May 4, 2021.
It was that night, when Kumar along with 12-15 of his men allegedly beat Dhankad to death, inside the stadium premises, over an alleged property dispute.
On Thursday, soon as it was decided that Dahiya is bringing home silver, celebrations began in the wrestling arena of the stadium, ironically, just at a stone’s throw from the spot where Dhankad had succumbed.
“This victory has washed away all the shame that the incident had brought to our stadium. We are thankful that the stadium has managed to retain its glory as a place that produces champions and not criminals. Many allegations were raised about the stadium’s administration as well as about all those who are associated with it. We now have a moment to feel proud of our stadium," said one of the members from the stadium administration, told CNN-News18.
— Anvit Srivastava (@AnvitSrivastava) August 5, 2021
One of the stadium’s coaches, who wished not to be named, said Sushil Kunar had joined the stadium in 1994. “He was one if the best since the starting but it was only after 2012 that Kumar’s temperament began to deflect. His focus shifted to things other than wrestling. He started keeping weapons and even started controlling the stadium. Not only with his co-wrestlers but he even often fought or started having differences with members of the administration. He wanted to achieve total control over the stadium," said the coach.
The wrestlers who practice in the stadium also see the Kumar-Dhankad incident as a low in the stadium’s history.
“No one wants to bring shame to their own institutions. What happened has happened. The wrestlers from this stadium will continue to bring glory to its name and to our coaches," said one of them, who stays at the stadium in the room close to where Kumar lived.
At present, the stadium has close to 100 budding wrestlers who stay here and practice wrestling day and night in the hope that they too will return with Olympic medals, to the stadium from where they started their lives as wrestlers at the young age of 10 to 12 years.