Ujjain's local Mallakhamb coach Yogesh Malviya has been shortlisted for Dronacharya award, as the sport has find a place in coveted top sporting honours for the first time. 40-year-old Malviya's story is as inspiring as his devotion to the unique sport.
A native of Gudri square in Ujjain, Malviya had taken up the unique sport at the age of seven and never looked back despite hardships of his life. At the young age of 16, Malviya not only continued practicing the sport but also started training others.
Malviya's life has always been a tough affair as his father Dharmpal had a small laundry shop close to Mahakal temple in Ujjain and had very limited income. Due to family constraints, Malviya had started attending his shop since childhood, used to wash clothes at dhobi ghat and ironed clothes at his shop.
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However, despite the tussle to earn livelihood, he did not miss his Mallakhamb practice. He had also dabbled in Kabbadi initially but later devoted self to this ancient Indian sport. In year 2006, Malviya had set up a puja material shop at Mahakal temple and also sold items used in the temple by devotees for years.
In the meantime, he also earned a name as a Mallakhamb trainer and was appointed as district coach of this sport in Shajapur district in 2006. Recognising his services as a coach, MP government had felicitated him with Vishwamitra award in year 2012. A couple of his disciples have received Arjuna award in the past.
A tableau based on Mallakhamb sport at Rajpath in year 2012 was honoured with first prize. Yogesh and his disciples have taken part in more than 15 TV reality shows. He and his team had ended up as first runners up in famous TV show –India's Got Talent.
Yogesh and his team at India's Got Talent. (Photo Credit: News18)
Recounting his struggle, Yogesh told News18 that at times he was late for his shop or dhobi ghat due to practice so family also used to scold him a lot. Besides, he often got injured while practicing Mallakhamb so his family often asked him to stay away from the sport fearing he might get disabled or severely injured.
"Still it's all part and parcel of life and I thank my family and locals for the sport I received in all these years," added the young coach.
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He, however, rued that the traditional sport still needs a lot of support and followership from the youth as according to him kids are distracted from the sport as this is a laborious exercise which is undertaken in inner wears like swimming and apparatus for the sport is also required to be prepared by those who follow it. Still he wished that Mallakhamb gains popularity world over one day.
Among others, Malviya will be honoured on the occasion of Sports Day on Aug 29. He was the only one nominated for the award in this sport.
(Inputs Ananad Nigam, Ujjain)