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Kusti or Kushti is India's traditional wrestling on soil - an ancient sport which is gradually dying out in most parts of India due to the government's pressures on the traditional Kusti/Kushti schools to abandon ways of the past, embrace international wrestling standards and win medals at the Olympics...Kolhapur is one city where Kusti/Kushti is still thriving. Rural families from the area send their boys to the city's Thalims or Akharas - traditional wrestling schools, where the young men dedicate themselves entirely to the sport. Grueling daily training, strict diet and celibacy for the duration of their careers are necessary if they hope to ever achieve their dream - to become a champion 'pailwan' (wrestler), in front of crowds which can reach as many 20,000 spectators.
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Mitchell Kanashkevich
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Kusti/Kushti: Ancient Indian Wrestling on Soil
Kusti or Kushti is India's traditional wrestling on soil - an ancient sport which is gradually dying out in most parts of India due to the government's pressures on the traditional Kusti/Kushti schools to abandon ways of the past, embrace international wrestling standards and win medals at the Olympics...Kolhapur is one city where Kusti/Kushti is still thriving. Rural families from the area send their boys to the city's Thalims or Akharas - traditional wrestling schools, where the young men dedicate themselves entirely to the sport. Grueling daily training, strict diet and celibacy for the duration of their careers are necessary if they hope to ever achieve their dream - to become a champion 'pailwan' (wrestler), in front of crowds which can reach as many 20,000 spectators.