December 30, 2010 by David Gillaspie
China found Yao Ming, 7′ 6″, 310 lbs. The NBA called him.
India found The Great Khali, 7′ 3″, 420 lbs. WWE called him.
Who would win a match between the two titans, China or India. This is a contest with world wrenching ramifications.
Score for India. Why? He’s called The Great Khali. The roundballer’s name is Chairman Yao.
The Great Khali would chair Yao sooner than later.
The two men stand as examples of national pride. Even though Yao would fall to The Great Khali, neither is an amateur wrestler. Neither compete in the top ranks of world-class athletics.
Neither is a world champion.
Of the two greatest population centers in the world, each has a wrestling world champ.
More promising is Sushil Kumar, the Indian World Freestyle Champion, and his win over Russia’s Gogaev Alan in the men’s 66kg final, 2010. He ripped world championship gold from a Russian in Russia to add to his bronze from the ’08 Olympics in China.
He travels well.
What also won’t be a fluke in the near future is India eclipsing Russia as a world wrestling power. If you ask why Russia is a great wrestling nation, simply look at the battles she’s fought and won to survive. Now ask who will fight the hardest battles in the future?
China has a ‘system’ that works in a self-monitoring way. It changes with the historical concentration of people and cash, but the boundaries and penalties are strict and you’d better stay between the lines. Keeps everyone calm and reserved.
Besides Yao Ming, is there another Chinese athlete that circulates through the sports world?
Besides Sushil Kumar, is there another Indian athlete on the big board?
Rest assured, there will be. India has an anger, a low intensity broiler that China lacks. The relationship between the two nations may have something to do with it, but that’s another post.
India doesn’t need China to fuel its anger. Their layered society and spiritual differences make more than enough.
With the Arabian Sea on the west and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India is a peninsula nation fighting the sea and what it coughs up. One day England floated in and wouldn’t leave. Very angry.
With Pakistan in the northwest and Nepal in the northeast, there’s enough anger to cook the sun.
Because India doesn’t have an internal ‘system’ as strong as China, anxiety and fear continues to grow. India wrestling will keep pace, reflecting the national mood. Unless China falls into open revolution, it’s wrestling program will struggle.
In the near future look for India to wrestle with its social and economical problems in a measured and cautious manner, with the occasional outbursts. Look for China to continue at its breakneck pace of development with the Chinese wrestlers lost in the wake.
Don’t be surprised when the leaders in Beijing find another Yao Ming before another Li Yanyan.
You will see the leaders in New Delhi find another Aleksandr Karelin once they displace Russia as a wrestling power. When they do, don’t be surprised if he’s called ‘The Experiment II.’
China may get the NBA attention, but India gets the wrestling attention. May the best nation win.