What makes a champion? Is it genetics? The environment? Are there shortcuts?
Join us on a journey with the champion arm wrestler of India, Pranjit Saikia who we believe will etch India’s name across the world’s biggest arm wrestling platforms.
Arm wrestling is the favourite pass time in Assam and it is practiced in community-run clubs across the State. Back in the day, a 12-year old boy from Guwahati, Pranjit Saikia was “hooked” to it (pun intended) in the first instance! Pranjt wasn’t allowed to play the sport in the club, as he was too young. But that did not deter the hyper-active adolescent to look out for opponents with whom he can spar. One such encounter happened to be with his house help, a young boy. This turned out to be a pretty embarrassing, but a life-changing experience for Pranjit, as his house help pinned him down in seconds.
With teenage rage and the desire to be the best, Pranjit enrolled himself in a competition held during the Bihu festival in 2012. Unfortunately he lost again- due to the lack of experience. The constant mocking and jibes from people didn’t discourage the teenager who was destined to become the best top-roller of India. A year later, under his cousin’s guidance, he came back to conquer. From then on, there was no looking back. In the same year, he went on to win the district, state and national arm wrestling championships, in the 73 kg weight category. He has been crowned the national champion 5 times since!
Click below to view:
PRANJIT SAIKIA LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS & AWARDS
“I am an early riser and believe in the old saying, ”early to bed, early to rise. ”It helps me stay fit and focus better” says Pranjit. His typical day starts at 5 am, when he heads to Uzan Bazaar to help his father with the book-keeping and accounts for their fishing business.
After tackling work, he rushes home for a simple yet healthy breakfast of roti or rice with vegetables. Pranjit prefers home cooked meals and his source of proteins is mainly chicken, mutton or pork 3-4 times a week. Pranjit says, “I know my diet is protein deficient, but I do not have the financial backing to pump my diet with protein supplements. Since arm wrestling is not yet recognised by the Indian government, athletes like us do not have access to funds that are available in other sports.”
After breakfast, it is time to hit the gym for the next four to five hours. Pranjit believes in full body workouts, with particular focus on biceps, triceps, shoulders, and forearms.
“Size doesn’t matter. I focus on strength, stability and endurance”, says Pranjit while working with the Mazurenko handle. Pranjit stays in the gym till dusk or till he feels he’s done for the day.
His lunch and dinner are usually rice with some form of non-vegetarian protein (fish, chicken, mutton, pork). His day ends at 10 pm because he ensures that he gets enough rest to recuperate and recover.
We were quite surprised to hear Pranjit’s daily schedule, because it is such a simple routine for a champion athlete!
“But is it easy to maintain a simple consistency?”asks Pranjit with a twinkle in his eye. “Not really, isn’t it? The simplest things are actually the hardest things to do!” he adds.
After picking his brain for sometime, we finally understand why this millennial is so disciplined and focused. Pranjit comes from a humble middle-class family and his modest upbringing is the reason for his soft-spoken and kind nature. “My parents are my inspiration and the anchors of my life. I am eternally grateful to them for trusting me against their initial skepticism towards arm wrestling.” His parents are now confident that their son will reach the zenith of success.
Injuries and disappointments play a very crucial role in the life of an athlete. But the way one overcomes the setbacks, is what determines how far ahead one can go in the sport.
Pranjit is no stranger to injuries and has had quite a lot of them. Luckily, none of them have been bad enough to put this budding young man down for long. He has never been to a doctor and believes that rest and recuperation is the most effective remedy for athletic injuries.
The biggest heartbreak in the life of an athlete happens when their dream is pulled apart and they are helpless about it. Dramatic as it may sound, Pranjit has been at the receiving end of a very harsh reality of the system we live in today. In 2017, he was set to represent India in the World Armwrestling Championship in Hungary. During the last moment, he got the news that his visa was rejected. The national champion was forced to abandon his dream of donning the Indian colours at the world championship. This was not just a personal loss to Pranjit but to the entire Indian sports fraternity.
However, instead of being pessimistic, our fighter athlete did not give up on his dream. A year later he was crowned National Champion for the 5th time!
In 2018, Pranjit received a call from Ronnie Sehgal, CEO of Bulldog Armwrestling, who had just begun promoting arm wrestling in India and UAE. Pranjit was invited to be a Super Puller for Bulldog’s maiden arm wrestling event, the Armwrestling Showdown in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
“Meeting Ronnie Sir changed my life for the better. He is fearless and focussed. I believe, this is the type of leadership that Indian arm wrestling needs at this moment. In India, arm wrestling does not have the exposure and professionalism that other sports have and Ronnie sir hopes to change that in the next couple of years. The Super Pullers at the first Showdown were invited from across the country. We were well received and our expenses were managed entirely by Bulldog Armwrestling. I felt honoured and for the first time, I actually “felt” like a professional athlete.”
After the success of the Armwrestling Showdown in November 2018, Bulldog Armwrestling in association with Professional Armwrestling League (PAL) conducted the first-of-its-kind, Bulldog- URPA World Armwrestling Ranking Series in Bengaluru in March 2019, followed by a second one in Guwahati, in July 2019.
“Bulldog-URPA Bengaluru gave me the best gift ever”, smiles Pranjit. He returned as the Champion of Champions (which is a knock-out event with the winners of all weight categories).
“Bulldog URPA tournament is the perfect launch pad for Indian arm wrestlers. It gives us an opportunity to know where we stand in the world level. I will be eternally grateful to Bulldog Armwrestling for giving us such an opportunity. With the help of Bulldog Armwrestling, I think my ultimate dream of being a Top 8 and Zloty champion will come true”, says Pranjit. Top 8 is an event in which the best 8 arm wrestlers in the entire world come to duel against each other. Zloty Tur is PAL’s flagship yearly event in Poland that has the finest professional arm wrestlers from across the world battling it out for the legendary Zloty Trophy.
Pranjit lists out names of the top arm wrestlers in the world. Are they his role models? Who is his idol?
“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I don’t idolise anybody. I want to be myself. I want to be the best!”, says Pranjit with a chuckle.
Click below to view:
PRANJIT SAIKIA LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS & AWARDS
Bulldog Armwrestling wishes Pranjit all the best and we proud to be part of this journey, of making his dream come true!
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