Guwahati: Assam lad Monoj Leen Debnath emerged as the winner in the 63 kg men’s right arm category at the Unified Rating of Professional Arm Wrestling (URPA) World Ranking Series 2019. The even was held at the GMCH Auditorium in Guwahati, Assam from July 26-27.
The 25-year-old armwrestler, who hails from Dibrugarh in Assam, is now all set to represent India in Armwrestling China Open to be held in September this year in Shenzhen, China. The winners of this event will go on to compete at the World Arm-wrestling championship in Poland later this year.
Debnath is currently ranked at 4th in Asian rankings and holds the 6th position at the world rankings in armwrestling championships.
The armwrestler has been constantly bringing home medals. He bagged the 7th position in 60 kg senior men’s category at the 40th World Armwrestling Championships held in Antalya, Turkey in October last year. He also won gold at the National Armwrestling Championship held in Lucknow last year, and another at the National Armwrestling Championship held in New Delhi, 2017.
Speaking with EastMojo, Debnath said that he fell in love with the sport while he was in college. “I started armwrestling from 2009 onwards and since then I have been continuously a national champion. I won the title continuously from 2014 to 2018. Further, I [have] represented India three times in world championships and three times [at] the Asian championships,” he said.
“Arm wrestling is a very old sport but we don’t get much recognition from the government. I hope in coming days government would pay heed to this sport and also give attention to the players,” said Debnath, adding, “Armwrestling is a very different game and you need to do a lot of hard work and also focus on the game and diet to become a good player and achieve your goal”.
Further, he asked the people to engage themselves with any kind of sport to maintain one’s attitude and, stay fit and healthy.
Debnath added the latest feather to his cap at the two-day armwrestling mega event, the URPA World Ranking Series 2019 held in Guwahati, which was the first professional armwrestling event in the state. It saw participation of more than 150 international and national champions.
Igor Mazurenko, president of the Professional Armwrestling League (PAL), also known as ‘The Godfather’, thanked the organisers saying that the Northeast had over 200 participants which he never witnessed any other part of India.
World-renowned match referee Zill Fadli, who hails from Malaysia, conducted the event with assistance from experienced referees from Assam and members of Purna Bikash Sanstha, PAL and Bulldog Sports.
The general secretary of the organising committee, Anup Rajkonwar, said, “This event is organised for the second time in India and first in Northeast. We have 147 participants including men and women. Also, we have participants from countries like Iran and Bangladesh.”
“The event turned out to be a successful one, as we had expected it to be. As organisers, we also get rating points. The PAL had rated us 5 points and we are really proud to say that last time Karnataka hosted this event, they only received 3 points. We are way ahead of them,” Rajkonwar added.
To encourage the participants and popularise the sport the organisers had put prize money of Rs 6 lakh for the entire event. Winners also received a sum of Rs 50,000 each, informed the president.
The event concluded with the prize distribution ceremony where 40 winners across various categories were handed out medals, certificates and cash prizes amounting to a total of Rs 6 lakh. The ‘Champion of Champions’ in the men’s category was won by Partha Sonni from Maharashtra and Mamoni Bayan from Assam in the women’s category.
Speaking on the successful completion of the event, Hridayananda Konwar, president of Purna Bikash Sanstha, said, “My aim while organising this event was to provide a platform where local armwrestlers could compete with national and international players, interact with international referee’s and experience first-hand, where armwrestling has reached on the international level. My vision is to see armwrestling becoming an Olympic event in the near future.”