New Delhi, May 24: Almost every wrestler who won an international medal for India came out of Guru Hanuman's stable. The 99-year old guru of Indian wrestling died tragically in a car accident near Meerut on the Delhi-Hardwar highway this morning.
The Dronacharya Awardee and five others were going to Hardwar in a car to take a holy dip in The Ganga when their car crashed into a tree after a tyre burst. The injured were taken to hospital where the guru, a woman and a child died. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow morning here.
News of the death of the guru spread rapidly and many people visited the hospital to pay their last respects. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and several other leaders, sports personalities and wrestlers condoled the guru's death. Guru Hanuman was born in 1901 in Chidawa, an obscure village in Rajasthan. He took to wrestling at a tender age and founded his own akhara in 1925 in North Delhi on a piece of land donated by the Birlas.The akhara soon became the centre point ofIndian wrestling as year after year, Guru Hanuman produced the finest talent the country had seen.
He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1983 and was bestowed the prestigious Dronacharya Award in 1991.
Among the most well-known products of his akhara were Sat Pal, who won gold in the 1982 Asiad, and Kartar Singh, who captured gold in the Seoul Asiad in 1986.
The akhara also trained many Arjuna Awardees like Sudesh Kumar, Prem Nath, Mahavir, Jagvinder and Sudesh Verma. Guru Hanuman was a bachelor. His akhara was, he said, his family.
Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.