Behind the Passion
A gentle presence and disarming smile is hardly the stereotypical image associated with a champion arm wrestler.
But 110kg engineering student Deepak Kataria is living proof that you dont need to be a Hulk Hogan clone to be a master of this ancient art.The 21-year-old Indian born athlete has been the Delhi State Champion four years running and was placed fourth at the nationals in 2010 in field of 4000 competitors.
And while he does exude a sizeable pair of biceps, Kataria stresses that strength is not the key to winning a match.''Some people play with the strength of their arms but it's totally a technical game . . . you need to apply your whole body weight,'' he says.
Hailing from Haryana, Kataria credits his size and strength to the region where the people are typically much bigger than in other parts of India.
''The people in Haryana are very strong compared to the other states. All the food is natural, they never eat fast food, they drink milk and they do exercise daily,'' he says.
First impressions suggest Kataria is far from dangerous-by-nature, yet his description of the sport indicates just how risky the business is.
''Its a very dangerous game . . . at the national games I saw six people fracture their arms when they were playing.
''If you think he (the opponent) is winning the game and he can break your hand, then always let your hand go. Winning is not as important as our hand.''
While Kataria also excels in body-building, power-lifting and wrestling, his talent in the classroom saw him graduate first at his college, and forced him to choose between sport and study.
''I became much more interested in study so I was not able to give enough time in sports.''
Kataria says although his focus is now on becoming a mechanical engineer, if someone were to challenge him to an arm wrestle, he wouldn't shy away from the contest.
''Yes, I can do it, no problem,'' he says.
- © Fairfax NZ News