Pune: As Bhugaon got ready to host its one of the biggest sporting competition, the 61st Maharashtra State Wrestling Championship 2017 and Maharashtra Kesari, the coveted Silver mace, which is the prize for winning Maharashtra Kesari title in 125-kg class, was offered prayers on the eve of the championship, which will run from December 20 to 24.
The most-awaited wrestling championship in being jointly organised by the Pune District Wrestling Association under the aegis of Maharashtra State Wrestling Association (MSWA) with Mulshi Taluka Wrestling Association, Mallasamrat Pratishthan and the villagers of Bhugaon.
The prayer offering ceremony for the silver mace was organised by Chandrakant Mohol, National wrestling referee, and Sangram Mohol.
The two championships will see participation from over 900 wrestlers from 35 districts of Maharashtra and 11 Municipalities at the Mamasaheb Mohol Sports City being readied on the huge ground that would accommodate about 40,000 spectators.
The biggest-ever wrestling extravaganza will see keen contests between the two-time Maharashtra Kesari winner Chandrahar Patil of Sangli and the last year’s runner-up Abhijit Katake.
The most-awaited Maharashtra Kesari fight will be held on Sunday, December 24.
Top wrestlers including Shivraj Rakshe, Tanaji Jhunjurke and Sainath Ranwade (all from Pune), Sagar Birajdar of Latur, Kiran Bhagat of Satara, Mahesh Varute and Kautuk Dafale, both from Kolhapur, Mauli Jamdade and Mahadeo Sargar, both from Solapur, are expected to take part in the championship.
In other weight categories, top wrestlers include Suraj Kokate, Ganesh Jagtap, Abhishek Turkewadkar, Tanaji Virkar and Jyotiba Atkal.
The championship will be held in 10 weight categories each on mat and in mud class.
The organisers have planned to take on a procession of wrestlers on December 21 wherein captains of each districts will lead their team of wrestlers through the village. Those contesting for Maharashtra Kesari will be paraded in one jeep together with villagers applauding.
Women wrestlers will be competing in Maharashtra Kesari for the first time. A contest between Maharashtra’s Ankita Gund and Haryana’s Mamata has been scheduled on Saturday, December 23, to promote women wrestling.
A silver mace as price for the winner of Maharshtra Kesari has a deep rooted tradition. Thousands of people gather to watch the final bout of Maharashtra Kesari, which began in 1961 and since then silver mace is given as a prize.
Till 1982 the mace was given by Maharashtra State Wrestling Association, but since then MP Ashok Mohol began sponsoring the mace in memory of his father Mamasaheb Mohol.