Rahul Mann foregoes his wrestling career for wife’s dreams

Rahul Mann
Rahul Mann with his wife Sarita Mor

Rahul Mann used to be one of the emerging wrestlers in India. In addition to being two-time silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games, he is known for defeating Yogeshwar Dutt in trials. However, he is now coaching his wife, Sarita Mor, a freestyle wrestler, to win an Olympic medal, and has stopped participating in any event. Happy with his wife’s performance, Rahul beams with pride whenever she wins an international medal.

Four years after their marriage, a drastic improvement was observed in the performance of Sarita Mor. With her outstanding performance, she won a silver medal at the 2017 Asian Wrestling Championship. The hard work of the couple working together is evident in their achievements; however, they are determined to win accolades at the Olympics level.

Rahul Mann owns a farmhouse which is situated in Khera Khurd, a village that lies on the outskirts of Delhi. He uses this place mostly for training and exercise. Not to mention, just 100m from the farmhouse, he also has a coaching centre where he does his practice. While Rahul competes in a 65-kg category, his wife takes part in the 57-kg women’s wrestling category.

Their early morning routine includes an online session with the SAI (Sports Authority of India) followed by a rigorous practice of whatever they learn from there. Amidst the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, numerous wrestlers are unable to practice because of the lack of a partner, but Sarita has nothing to worry about. She says she has got her husband who is a great sparring partner. Further, she has stopped focusing on the defence part and is now entirely concentrating on how to attack. Rahul believes defence is Sarita’s strong point and by working on her attacking skills, she can improve a great deal. Sarita is positive if she learns Rahul’s technique, she can attain perfection.

On a lighter note, Sarita is all praise for her husband’s culinary skills, and Rahul completely agrees with her. “He is not only a good sparring partner but a great chef as well,” Sarita says. Proving his point, Sarita is quick to mention the delicious halwa he made for her recently.

Interestingly, Sarita used to wrestle in the 62-kg category, and on being asked whether she switched to a lower category because of Sakshi Malik, her husband said that the change was implemented after doing extensive research on international wrestling. And additionally, in the 62-kg category, the foreign wrestlers are taller which can prove to be a shortcoming. He also talked about how his wife defeated Pooja Dhandha in the trials of the World Wrestling Championship in 2019 and the 4th Season of Pro Wrestling League despite Pooja being a world champion. Pooja is known for defeating the Olympic winner and World Champion Helen Maroulis, Rio Olympic medalist Marwa Amri, and silver medalist of World Championship Odunayo.

Apart from Pooja, Sarita considers Manju and Mansi to be her vital opponents. In PWL (Pro Wrestling League) Season 4, Sarita defeated World No. 5, Kateryna Zhydachevska of Romania, whereas in Season 3 she defeated World No. 3, Elif Jale Yesilrmak, a Russian-Turkish wrestler.

Sarita believes that wrestling is everything for her. She lives by the motto, “Eat wrestling and Sleep wrestling”. She does not watch any movies or dramas and is not a fan of cricket. She does not even have a TV in her room.

As to why Sarita is dissatisfied even after defeating top wrestlers and Asian Championship winner, Rahul retorts, “Asian players get recognition only after getting a medal in either Asian Games or Olympics. We understand these things. These victories will lead you nowhere. Even I defeated the 2008 Olympic medalist, but no one takes notice of that. We will not rest till Sarita brings home an Olympic medal and that is our only priority. Even though Sarita has won a gold in the Asian championship, her preparations have only begun.”