LAHORE – The Lahorites witnessed the world’s freestyle wrestling here at the National Hockey Stadium with 10 Japanese wrestlers shown their skills on Sunday.

Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif welcomed the introduction of freestyle wrestling in Pakistan but also announced the establishment of Wrestling Academy under the patronage of world’s renowned Japanese wrestler M Hussain Inoki.

Punjab Deputy Speaker, chief organiser of Sports Punjab and Director General Sports and Youth Affairs were also present on the occasion. The family of Jhara (Zubair) Pehalwan, Nasir Bholu Pehalwan, Raja Farooq, Zain Qadri and Malik Naseer were the guests of honours.

Five Japanese bouts were held but to start the activity three fights among Pakistani wrestlers were also conducted. Among the five main bouts, Shogun Okamoto, Kawaguchi, Kendo Kishin, Aitisushi Sawada and Kazuyuki Fujita scored comfortable wins except the last fight that yielded quite a stir. Shogun Okamoto beat Joh Akira, Kawaguchi beat Thaka Kusou, Kendo Kishin stunned Nobuyuki Karashing, Atisushi Sawada edged aside Sinichi Suzukawa and Kazuyuki Fujita downed Hideki Suzuki.

The first four bouts developed interesting competition yet the fight between Kazuyuki Fujita and Hideki Suzuki proved a thrilling one and entertained the crowd. But to ease the situation, Inoki walked on to the ring and gave one slap each to the fighting wrestlers to back down and said he was here to convey a message of peace from Pakistan to entire world.

Earlier, the CM highlighted the dominance of Pakistan wrestlers in the field and also read out some of the popular names of wrestling and reminded the time when Inoki had a fight with Akram Pehalwan and Jhara Pehalwan in 1976 and 1979.

The CM also formally announced that the Punjab government was establishing freestyle wrestling in collaboration with Inoki so that the Pakistan talent could be seen in whole of the world.

Inoki said that this was his fourth visit and it was the love of the people of Pakistan that attracted him back to the country. “It is also to mark the 60-year diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Japan. I am here after 28 years and see the same love and hospitality of the people of Pakistan and the Punjab government,” he maintained.

The chief minister also distributed souvenir among the visiting Japanese wrestlers and other members of the delegation. Nasir Bholu also displayed the world title belt won by his grandfather Gama Pehalwan.

Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly on the occasion gave the details of the sports and general event organised by the Punjab government under the vision of the chief minister that also included the Guinness World Record events.

Pakistan wrestlers, Abdul Rehman beat Saqib Khan while the bouts between Abdul Ghaffar and Abdullah and Malik Shahbaz and Mian Waqas ended in stalemate