India’s ace woman wrestler Pooja Dhanda has been of the opinion that wrestling today has changed much with most of the focus given to the groundwork. The wrestler also revealed the strategy that she and Sakshi Malik have learned after starting to spend time with French coach Fanel Carp on IIS.
One of the many complaints that modern Indian wrestlers have is that the country could never come out of the archaic techniques being practised for decades. And wrestler Pooja Dhanda isn’t stating any different when she said that poor groundwork has been India’s Achilles’ Heel on the international stage.
“Indian wrestlers’ ground-work is very weak. We have never done sessions on ground-work. In foreign countries, they dedicate two sessions in a week to ground-work. In India, wrestling in standing position gets priority,” said Dhanda, who is working on her defence ahead of the World Championships and Olympics, reported Sportstar.
“Even though I was leading in the Asian championship, the Chinese, who was not so good in standing position, made the most of a chance to beat me. Today's wrestling is about grabbing the chance on the ground. Our coaches have noticed this trend and our focus is shifting towards ground wrestling,” added Pooja, during an interaction at the Inspire Institute of Sport.
However, the 25-year-old was wise enough to admit that just recognizing the problem wasn’t everything but changing the fundamentals that the wrestlers have been developed over the years would be a tricky task.
“Since the time I started wrestling, I have focused on wrestling in standing position. In the last one or two years, I have started giving attention to ground-work. It is not so easy to defend or attack from such a position. When I have done something for 13 years, how can I learn a new thing in just two years?” she explained.
Pooja, who has beaten World and Olympic championships medallists in the Pro Wrestling League, also spilled some beans on the strategies she has developed after starting to work with French coach Fanel Carp of IIS.
“He is teaching us some smart things. Suppose you are leading with two minutes to go, then how you can see off that time. In which zone you can be safe and in which zone you can be unsafe.
“My leg defence is weak in comparison to other sides of my game. He is working on that area. Normally, Chinese wrestlers go for single leg attacks and Japanese go for double leg attacks. When you get attacked on one leg, then there is a chance that you can counterattack. But when you get attacked on both legs, then first you have to defend yourself before going for an attack,” concluded Pooja.
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