Mumbai, Dec 30: Rio Olympics gold medalist woman wrestler Erica Eilzabeth Wiebe will spearhead the campaign of defending champions Mumbai Maharathi in season 2 of the Pro Wrestling League to be held in Delhi from January 2-19, 2017. Also Read - Pro Wrestling League 2017: Punjab edge out Haryana to win the title
“In our country wrestling is not a marquee sport. I know how big it is in India and I am extremely honoured to represent Mumbai Maharathi in the Pro Wrestling League,”said the 27-year-old Canadian at the media conference to launch the team here today. Also Read - Baba Ramdev shows the power of yoga as he beats Olympic champ in wrestling (Watch video)
The Mumbai squad also includes two other foreigners, both men, in Ukraine’s 96 kg hulk Pavlo Olinyk, a two-time world championship bronze winner, and Rio Games bronze medal winner Jabariyil Hasanov of Azerbaijan. Also Read - Pro Wrestling League 2017: Punjab knock Mumbai out to enter final of the tournament
The team’s Indian flavour would be provided by Maharashtra’s Rahul Aware, Pritam Dalal, Vikas Dagar (men), Sarita Mor and Lalita Sherawat (women). Also Check- Here is what happened when Geeta Phogat and Sakshi Malik squared off against each other in 2015
Aware is a gold medal winner from the Commonwealth Games of 2014 held in Glasgow, where Erica clinched a gold medal, while Lalita won the silver at the same Games held in Scotland. Dalal and Dagar are junior Asian silver medalists.
The team will look up to its icon Erica, who had won the 75 kg gold medal in her debut Olympic appearance in Rio in August to become only the third Canadian grappler to achieve the feat.
Erica, a research scholar, told PTI that she received 20,000 Canadian dollars from her government for winning the gold in the Rio Games and she would be getting four times that amount, when converted to Canadian currency, for taking part in the PWL’s edition two.
“I was approached last year but our federation refused permission because of the Olympic Games. I am excited and cannot wait to step on the mat on January 2,” said Erica who is now based in Calgary and has played other sports like football and basketball too.
“I have been training for a month for PWL. I was disappointed I could not take part in it last year,” she said, adding the stint in the PWL will help her in pursuing her passion.
Mumbai Maharathi is to be coached by Dronacharya awardee Ramphal Mann who said he was 99 per cent confident that his team will win the title this year too. “Ours is a balanced team with Erica spearheading it,” he said.