Ravi Barod, bronze medallist at the 2017 senior national championships, died during a wrestling bout on Tuesday in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh. Also known as Ravi Doomcheri (after the famous Doomcheri akhada in Punjab), the 25-year-old was a fast rising wrestler from Indore and had won several mud dangals across India.
While participating in a similar dangal, Ravi, the only child of Gajadhar and Rekha Barod, suffered a heart failure after wrestling for close to 80 minutes spanned over two bouts. According to Ravi’s family, the first bout was for 40 minutes while the second was going on for 35 minutes. He was rushed to a local hospital which referred him to Gwalior.
The six-foot wrestler competed in the 97kg weight category and was seventh during the 2016 senior nationals. He began his practice at the Malhar Martand centre in Juna Takkoganj.
“I used to travel with him to every dangal. On Monday it was raining heavily so he told me to wrestle at a very small dangal nearby. I could not go with him. What we have heard is that he wrestled two bouts on the same day and despite saying that he cannot wrestle, the organising committee forced him to wrestle,” an emotional Adarsh, Ravi’s nephew, told Scroll.
The dangal, which had a bullet motorbike as the top prize, was one of the most popular in Bhind and was organised in Rawatpura Dham.
“Dam phat gaya tha. Pura din kuch khaya nahi. (He lost his energy, he hadn’t eaten anything all day) We did not go for the postmortem as it was a death by natural cause,” Adarsh said.
During the national championships in Indore last year, Ravi was the lone medallist from Madhya Pradesh.
“He made all of us proud and the chief minister had promised him a job after that medal. It is the mistake of the committee to force him wrestle. He was vomiting but still they asked him. He was rushed to a Gawlior hospital but he died on the way,” Adarsh said.
“He kept insisting that he wanted to fight. He was very keen .. He was very keen about the event. We have lost an excellent wrestler,” an organiser was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
In recent times, Ravi had risen through the ranks very quickly. Past month was especially a good one for him as he had wins over popular dangal wrestlers as Prabhpal Singh (also a Greco-Roman wrestler in Indian team), Sunil Zirakpur and Vikash Khanna.
“Ravi was an excellent wrestler and had faced extreme poverty to reach this level. He was the best among the second level wrestlers and in a couple of years he would have been in the top level,” Kulbir Kainor, a popular commentator at dangals across Punjab, said.
Many wrestlers from Doomcheri akhara including Parminder, a legend of his times, Kamaljeet Doomcheri were in Harsola to pay tributes to Ravi. Doomcheri akhada was Ravi’s training centre since 2010.
Wrestling was not new for Ravi. His father Gajadhar was a wrestler himself as he could not make enough money as a porter. He also decided to make Ravi a wrestler.
“He had a desire to win and also worked hard to become a top wrestler. Recently he won most of his bouts in Himachal. That desire also led him to wrestle for this long in Bhind. It’s a huge for the wrestling community,” wrestling blogger and enthusiast Deepak Ansuia said.