LAHORE: The people of Lahore on Sunday witnessed the world's popular freestyle wrestling here at the National Hockey Stadium with 10 Japanese wrestlers displaying their skills in this style of the game under lights.
Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif not only welcomed the introduction of freestyle wrestling in Pakistan but also announced the establishment of Wrestling Academy under the patronage of world's renowned Japanese wrestler Mohammad Hussain Inoki.
Deputy Speaker Rana Mashood Ahmed Khan, who is also chief organizer of sports Punjab, Usman Anwar, Director General Sports and Youth Affairs Punjab were also present on the occasion. Among the guests the family of Jhara (Zubair) Pahlwan, Nasir Bholu, Raja Farooq, Zain Qadri and Malik Naseer graced the occasion.
On the day five Japanese bouts were held but to start the activity three fights among Pakistani wrestlers were conducted.
From among the five main bouts, Shogun Okamoto, Kawaguchi, Kendo Kishin, Aitisushi Sawada and Kazuyuki Fujita got to a comfortable win except for the last fight that yielded quite a stir.
Shogun Okamoto defeated Joh Akira, Kawaguchi beat Thaka Kusou, Kendo Kishin overpowered Nobuyuki Karashing, Atisushi Sawada edged aside Sinichi Suzukawa and Kazuyuki Fujita, who is also a champion in his style of competition downed Hideki Suzuki.
Earlier, the Chief Minister highlighted the dominance of Pakistani wrestlers in the field and also read out some of the popular names of wrestling and reminded the time when Inoki had a fight with Akram Pahlwan and Jhara Pahlwan in 1976 and 1979.
The CM also formally announced that the Punjab government is establishing freestyle wrestling in collaboration with Inoki so that the Pakistani talent could be seen through out the world.
Speaking on the occasion, Inoki said that this is his fourth visit and it was the love of the people of Pakistan that had attracted him back to Pakistan.
It is also to mark the 60 year diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Japan. I am here after 28 years and see the same love and hospitality of the people of Pakistan and the Punjab government, he maintained.
On the occasion, the chief minister also distributed souvenir among the visiting Japanese wrestlers and other members of the delegation. During the ceremony, Nasir Bholu also displayed the world title belt won by his grandfather Gama Pahlwan.
Speaking on the occasion, Rana Mashood Ahmed Khan gave the details of the sports and general event organized by the Punjab government under the vision of the chief minister that also included the Guinness World Record events.
He further said that it is the Cm who will take Punjab and Pakistan to the path of development and set an example. In the competitions among Pakistan wrestlers, Abdul Rehman beat Saqib Khan while the bouts between Abdul Ghaffar and Abdullah and later between Malik Shahbaz and Mian Waqas ended in stalemate.