In Northeast India arm-wrestling will make a story Preeti Jhangiani

In Northeast India arm-wrestling will make a story Preeti Jhangiani

Guwahati: If you are a movie buff of the late 90s and early 2000s, you might remember Preeti Jhangiani from the Bollywood multi-starrer Mohabbatein. Dressed in a white salwar suit, he played the enigmatic Kiran, the love interest of Jimmy Shergil and later thousands of youngsters across the country.

Another tip: If you’re a fan of melodious numbers from the late 1990s, you must have seen her in the 1997 video song – Chhuimui Se Tum Lagti Ho from the Yeh Hai Prem album.
More than two decades have passed since Mohabbatein, which also starred megastars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, left an indelible impression on the silver screen with Chai and Kiran with his charming smile, but as time has passed. , the then 19-year-old Preeti slowly slipped out of the limelight.
Twenty-three years later, Preeti Jhangiani is all set to shine once again in a brand new avatar, and in a field she herself admitted to, she wasn’t too excited about in her school days. But as she would say during the interview, “In life, never say never,” the 42-year-old has emerged as the most prominent face of arm wrestling promotion in India.
With the support of her actor husband Pravin Dabas, the couple launched the Pro Panja League (PPL) in 2020 and are gearing up for the first televised version of the championship from July 28.
In a freewheeling chat with Media, Preeti highlighted the sport’s connection with the Northeast in general. Assam especially boasts of the biggest stars in arm wrestling: Chetna Sharma, Tridip Medhi and Irfan Hussain.

In Northeast India arm-wrestling will make a story Preeti Jhangiani

Preeti Jhangiani, who was recently elected president of the People’s Arm Wrestling Federation of India (PAFI), also revealed that the Guwahati trip is part of her itinerary as she plans to organize an arm wrestling festival later this month.
“The game is very popular in the North East in general and in Assam in particular, we have some really strong players who are capable of winning at the international level. We have Chetna Sharma, who is very popular in Assam, ” said Preeti, narrating an instance where an Assamese arm wrestler defeated a few well-built male counterparts.
“Some time ago, we did a tournament with him (in Mumbai), where we asked some strong people at IIT Mumbai: if one of them beats Chetna, we will pay Rs 10,000. “None of them was able to put his hand down. She beat four or five of the big guys who had already beaten their respective category rivals,” she said with a sense of pride. Explained.
“Then we have Tridip Medhi, who is a gold medallist. Irfan Hussain just won a bronze medal in the Asian Arm Wrestling Championship. Jagdish Baruah, Siddhartha Malakar, we have some really big stars from Assam,” she added.
Arm wrestling in other northeastern states
Preeti said that the sport is already recognized in Arunachal Pradesh and is gaining momentum in other neighboring states. “Armwrestling is also very popular and strong in Meghalaya and Mizoram. It is also seeing revival in Manipur, Tripura and Sikkim. In Arunachal, the sport is also recognized and supported by the government,” she said.
“Actually, we are planning a big tournament in Guwahati, called Pro North East Sports, like the arm wrestling festival. We are planning it on May 22, and Guwahati is very busy. Hoping for a high turnout. It is still in the pipeline. But I can say that we have some serious plans for the Northeast,” she added.
Federation with a difference
Criticizing federations where athletes are treated as second-class citizens, Maharashtra Arm Wrestling Association president Preeti said she believes in promoting athletes and making them representative.

“The whole idea of ​​having our own federation where our athletes are affiliated is to make the athlete a star. Now what usually happens in federations is that the officials have a face. In any (armwrestling) poster, your There are pictures of the president, general secretary and treasurer. But where are the players in the posters?”
“If the audience doesn’t know the players, how will the sport progress? What is happening here and all other federations is that the officials are just making money and working for themselves instead of working for the sport,” Preeti said.

In Northeast India arm-wrestling will make a story Preeti Jhangiani

“A federation is a non-commercial organisation. It’s not a money-making thing you should be in, it’s not for the money but for the sport. That’s what a national federation is all about but unfortunately it’s been distorted. And till now, the federation was only making money by charging players double fees for every national and international tournament,” she explained.
The Bollywood actor asserted that it is her (PAFI) team’s dedication to these goals that has led the Asian Arm Wrestling Federation (AAF) as well as the World Arm Wrestling Federation (WAF) to recognize her efforts. Persuaded. India is expected to host the Asian Championships in the near future.
“The AAF Jeenbek Mukambetov (president) as well as the WAF people saw that these people are actually working to develop the sport in the country and there is such a boom that everyone wants to come here. So The time is not far that the Asian Armwrestling Championship will come to India soon, and I think it is a big deal for us. We have a large number of athletes in the country,” she said.
National Championships
Indicating that PAFI is getting closer to getting proper recognition from the Union Sports Ministry, Preeti said the first step in this direction would be the first-ever National Arm Wrestling Championship, to be held in Mathura from June 1 is going to happen 4.
“Now the next step is to get our national federation recognized by the government, it is already in many states, and now the next step is to organize the national federation, and the first step towards that is that we first The national arm-wrestling tournament will be held in Mathura from June 1 to 4. We hope to see a large participation from the Northeast and especially Assam,” she said.
Pro Panja League and Format:
Gearing up for the Pro Panja League, which will be telecast for the first time, Preeti Jhangiani expects it to be a huge hit given the massive support the sport has generated on social media.

Elaborating on the format of the league, Preeti said that it is the only competition where specially-abled players will be in action alongside able-bodied players at the same time and carry equal prize money.
“It will be like any other league, with six teams participating. There will be 10 weight categories, 6 for men, 3 for women, and 1 specially for the disabled. We will be the only league that “Male, female and specially-abled participants will get equal prize money and equal opportunities. It is a 17-day league starting from July 28 to August 13,” she said.

She also hoped that the tournament would be in caravan format from next season.

“This time we are doing the entire league in Delhi, but we are planning a caravan format from next season,” she added.
The transition from movies to sports
So has Preeti distanced herself from the world of showbiz? When did the transition begin?

“In life, never say never. I said when I was acting that I would never become a producer, and finally, I produced a film (laughs).
“We are also producing a couple of other films. Sports was not something I was very interested in. Of course, like everyone, I played sports in school. I used to watch some cricket and tennis but this was not something I could ever get into professionally. Once we got into the promotion of the sport, arm wrestling was something that stood out to us because I think it has a lot of potential. “It’s an easy game, we’ve all done it as kids,” she said.
“I am also working a lot in films, I have a film coming up ‘Mahapur’, which is based on UP politics. I have another film as well as a show ‘Qafs’ with Mona Singh and Sharman Joshi. ‘ has also finished. And yes, I’m currently shooting for another show which I’m not allowed to name. There are actually a lot of things going on. But the focus is on ‘Panja’ now,” she said before signing off.

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