Arm wrestling may not look so glamorous as a sport but Assam’s Chetna Sharma may turn it fascinating. Yes, the kind of success in this power game she has at the national level, may lure anyone to join it.
For Chetna Sharma, her success is her answer to all the patriarchal mindsets in society. One of the most successful athletes in her discipline, Chetna thinks that sports is a great leveller.
“Yes, I think success can change the mindset of people and I believe sports is a great leveller. Earlier who opposed me working out in gyms and participating in events, now shares my photos on social media congratulating me,” Chetna told The News Mill in a recent conversation.
She was in Gwalior to participate in the Pro-Panja League, a ranking tournament. The top 18 players in each category here will participate in the main league scheduled to be held in October.
“Your hard work, dedication and determination to achieve something brings you success and that success does all the answering,” she added.
A software engineer by profession posted at the Assam police headquarters in Guwahati, Chetna Sharma started to do arm wrestling in 2011.
Initially, it was at the district level and then gradually at the state level and finally, she broke into the national scene.
She became national champion in 2013 in the lightweight division, and champion in the Sheru classic in 2016. And there is no stopping for her.
“There was a gap because of my studies… and then I started doing it seriously from 2017. After that I have been doing it continuously,” said the alumnus of Assam Engineering College.
She became the national champion in the right hand in 2017 in New Delhi, then again national champion in both right and left hand in 2018 in Lucknow. She emerged champion in the Open Women Lions empire classic in 2018.
In 2019, she won at the national level in Chhattisgarh. She won the Champion of Champions Miss India Arm Wrestling 2019 as well.
Then Chetna Sharma won gold in the Pro-Panja League ranking tournament in New Delhi in 2020 and became a super match winner in PPL Mega matches -1 that took place in Goa in 2021.
Though she has achieved something that many would envy at this level, she still longs for excellence.
“It’s a never-ending thing. Earlier, I wanted to be the district champion. Then wanted to be the national champion that I achieved. I also became the champion of the champions. I want to keep improving. In a way, yes, I’m satisfied with whatever I have achieved so far, but I want to do even better,” said a confident Chetna.
How it all began
Arm wrestling is not something many girls are interested in taking up.
“I was not aware that arm wrestling has state-level, national-level and even world meets. For me it was just a fun game in schools and colleges during leisure time,” she said.
Thanks to her husband Nayanjyoti Bora. “We were friends even before our marriage and he used to take part in the nationals. One day he asked me to start doing it seriously. Though initially, I was a bit reluctant, later I started taking interest and here I’m today,” said Chetna thanking her husband for her successful journey.
She is lucky to have a supportive family, especially her mother who has been her pillar of strength.
“Though there were some people who opposed me, my family and my husband have always been very supportive,” she added.
Chetna is, however, a little worried about not seeing a good number of girls participating in arm wrestling. “I think girls still think this is a men’s game. And as this is not an Olympic recognised game, they don’t want to give much effort to it. I have seen girls if they lose, instead of training harder, they would leave the game,” said the Guwahati-based arm wrestler.
“I think more girls should come out and participate in the game. As I said sports is a great leveller. This gives you recognition and identity.”