January 19, 2017: Indira Gandhi National Indoor Stadium was abuzz with excitement on Wednesday. It was not only because of all the wrestlers taking part in Pro-Wrestling League, but because Yoga guru Baba Ramdev stepped into the ring to fight an Olympic medallist, Ukranian Andrey Stadnik.
Clad in his trademark saffron langot and sports shoes, Ramdev was greeted to a loud reception as he stepped out for the bout with several people turning up just to watch him fight. “It is something you don’t see every day. I watch wrestling regularly but this was an added attraction and the fight turned out to be quite entertaining,” said Bipin Kumar, a resident of Dwarka.
Waving to the crowd before entering the ring, Ramdev greeted his opponent with a namaskar and even ‘blessed’ him by touching his forehead. He then went on to warm up by performing a couple of asanas before starting the bout. There could only be one winner thoughâ€”the referee raised Ramdev’s hand after one round of wrestling where he took down Stadnik twice.
Addressing the crowd later, Ramdev chanted ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and urged people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Praising the participants, he said wrestling would become one of the most popular sports in the world.
The wrestling bout took place during the semifinal clash between Mumbai Maharathi and Punjab Royals. On Tuesday, Ramdev challenged the 2008 Olympic silver medallist for a friendly dangal and Stadnik had accepted the offer.
Ramdev entered the wrestling ring in the past as well challenging India’s Sushil Kumar in 2016 to celebrate the 20th year of his ashram in Haridwar. It was also a friendly fight.