Singh in gut-wrenchingly splendid isolation

WRESTLING

If it is isolated at the top, it is scarcely very crowded a few rungs down either. Not if you are a British wrestler. In a national team that includes 12 horse grooms, four mountain bikers and any number of physiotherapists, Amarjit Singh stood alone yesterday.

He was the British wrestling team at the Georgia World Congress Centre. All 19 stone of him. But even with this mass of muscle that makes you wonder whether he ought to have a special licence to walk the pavements, a paltry squad of himself and a trainer was hardly an imposing one compared with the dozens of fighters and aides in American uniforms.

It rather summed up what the super-heavyweight has had to go through to get to Atlanta. Other wrestlers can train regularly with similar-sized men all year round. Singh, 25, from Wolverhampton, finds most of his toughest opponents in the gym, and they are the weights he pits his body against. Perhaps he should take up equine grooming: at least he would have someone to talk to.

It is a bleak scenario, hardly likely to develop a gold medallist, as Granit Taropin, who has coached the Russian and Indian wrestlers and is now in charge of Britain's, acknowledged: "He's our only international- class wrestler," he said. "Six months ago he was a low standard, but he practised in the Ukraine for six weeks in the build-up to the Games and improved a lot. Other wrestlers have been working for four years.

"If I had the thousand best coaches in the world, it would mean nothing without money, organisation and good competition. Amarjit needs eight good competitions a year. At the moment he's fighting once or twice. It's not enough."

Taropin lives in Glasgow and sees Singh once a month if he is lucky, yet if all this made you feel a mite sorry for the Briton, you had to say he looked the part yesterday. A heavy, drooping moustache gave him a menacing air that his tree-trunk arms did not dispel. Given a good draw, you felt, and he might have a chance. A look at the record of his first opponent, however, showed that fate had not been benign. Visually, Ebrahim Mehraban Roudbaneh probably came in second place to the Briton, but his CV includes two Asian championships. In Iran he is an idol, a national figure; Singh is barely a household name in his own street.

As soon as the fight started, the paper disparity was confirmed. The super-heavyweights do not indulge in many moves, and their repertoire is confined to the gut-wrench and the ankle cross. Singh, whose cousin Ravinder fought for Britain at the 1988 Games, spent most of his time straining to keep upright, never mind laying an attacking paw on the Iranian. One thing that wrestling has which football, regrettably, does not is a penalty for insufficient attacking, and faced by the massive strength of Mehraban, Singh was soon penalised for passivity. Indeed, by the end he was one caution away from being disqualified.

Which would merely have pre-empted the inevitable as Singh lost 6-2 and faced a succession of bouts against other losers to find his rank in the competition. "He's in the top six in the world," Singh muttered shyly afterwards. "I did OK."

His coach thought so, too. "I expected him to lose because the Iranian is very strong," he said. "You must realise that in Iran wrestling is the No 1 sport; it is a tradition out there. They have many, many fighters to choose from."

While Taropin was talking, Singh was left to contemplate defeat in the warm-up room. He was isolated again, this time with his thoughts.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballIt's not a game to lose, writes Paul Scholes
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant for Year 4

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: A Teaching Assistant is requ...

Nursery Teacher in Sherwood

£100 - £145 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Teaching job available wor...

Senior IP Opportunity at Major Firm

vary Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - AN OPENING AT A VERY HIGH Q...

Nursery Manager

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Nursery Manager Long term Ran...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes