Kerala’s Asker Ali defeated Gwalior’s superstar Sachin Goyal in the 80 kg finals of the Pro Panja League ranking tournament in front of the majestic Gwalior Fort to become the league’s latest champion in the weight class. Asker Ali breezed through Sachin Goyal in two straight rounds to become the new champion. While the fight lasted only two rounds, it was an intense battle between the two Arm Wrestlers.
Asker Ali was also crowned the inaugural ‘Sunil Kumar Player of the Tournament’ award by the league founders Mr. Parvin Dabas and Mrs. Preeti Jhangiani.
How do you feel now that you are a Pro Panja League Champion?
Yeah. It’s a great moment. I never experienced such. The match, the vibe, the atmosphere at the Gwalior Fort. Everything was great.
You have participated in numerous competitions before. Do you think anything comes close to what you experienced in Gwalior?
I mean there was so much audience present who were cheering for us. The stage changed into a professional way, as a league. We have dreamed of a stage like this.
How the reception has been back home after being crowned a champion?
“Everyone was telling me to come back. I was working in Dubai. Everyone was calling my association, Kerala Association, our mates, and all. [Everybody was telling me] ‘You must come back, you must compete in 80kg.’ I had already planned for last year’s Pro Panja competition but was working in Dubai. So couldn’t reach there. Definitely, I pictured, telling my employer and all, I want to go back to India and participate. I had already started the preparation and came. By God’s grace, I performed the best way I think.”
You were the 80Kg Champion but you also won the Sunil Kumar Award for being the Player of the Tournament. How does that make you feel?
It increases the joy more. I don’t know if should have gotten that. There were more players with better performance than me. But it was what we say sudden happiness.
How excited are you for the league?
No words. I’m more curious. I just started my practice and everything. Much more focused for the coming competitions. I want to perform much more better.
You know the league will have a lot of players, so how do you plan on training for that?
I want to concentrate on my weak points. I’m totally changing my way of training. I want to stay focused. If I’m Toproll, I’m concentrating on Toproll. But I want to balance everything.