Was busy maintaining my physique during lockdown, says Khali

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 29

Jalandhar had been his training ground and launching pad for WWE wrestling. Having returned from the US about six years ago, the city is now a home and workplace both for The Great Khali aka Dalip Singh Rana.

He runs his Continental Wrestling Entertainment Academy at Kangniwal village here since January 2015 that has over 400 trainees from across the country.

“Thankfully, I was in Jalandhar with my wife Harminder Kaur and my daughter Avleen, when the lockdown was announced. In all these days, I could do nothing except maintaining my physique. I am following a long and rigorous schedule of exercise in the gym at my place. Nearly five-six family members, including my nephews, stay with me and we all have a great time,” says the ace wrestler, who turned 48 this Thursday.

The seven feet one inch tall wrestler said: “The lockdown has slowed down everything for me. My trainees, who are from Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, UP and Haryana, had all gone back to their places. But now, the boys have started returning. I have 12-13 boys, who have resumed their training with me. My main trainers, who were from the US, have not been able to return. So far, I have been managing the academy with my local trainers and I, too, have been spending a lot of time with them. The boys organised my birthday celebration as well in the academy two days ago.”

Having entered the wrestling career at the age of 26, he said: “I start taking boys of age 12 onwards. It is easier to train them as they are quick learners. They get lodging, diet and even attend school, college classes to continue with their education from here.”

Now a millionaire, Khali makes a point sharing this as he had to drop from school in his early childhood for not having been able to pay Rs2.50 as fee. In his childhood, he even had to indulge in labour by crushing stones and doing gardening to support his family.

A native of Himachal Pradesh, Khali, who got his name after the Goddess Kali, whom he worshipped, says some girls were also training under him, but had not yet returned because of the prevailing conditions. Asked if he intended to train his daughter as well, he replied: “She is too small as of now. No one from my family, including my nephews, has yet turned to join the game.”

Asked if the former WWE wrestler, who had beaten the likes of internationally known WWE names like ‘The Undertaker’, Kane, Big Show, John Cena and Shawn Michaels, was playing tournaments and maintaining his diet even today, he shared: “I do participate in tournaments in between, but not the way I used to do earlier. I do go to WWE sometimes. I am trying to maintain the same diet, but may be it is not as rich now.”

Khali is learnt to be concentrating on setting up a network of new academies in neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, too, as it is his birth place, for which he has now started travelling off and on. Khali recalls the days when he was picked by the Punjab Police for training him in sports after spotting him as a tall guy deployed as a security guard in Himachal. He was inducted in the Punjab Police in 1993, remained posted in the Punjab Armed Police headquarters in Jalandhar and last served as the ASI.

“I left the job long ago,” he quips, but will continue to stay put here.


...Daughter too small to be trained in wrestling

  • Jalandhar is both home and workplace for The Great Khali aka Dalip Singh Rana, who is a native of Himachal Pradesh. He got his name after the Goddess Kali, whom he worshipped.
  • The former WWE wrestler has beaten the likes of internationally known WWE stars including 'The Undertaker', Kane, Big Show, John Cena and Shawn Michaels.
  • Asked if he intended to train his daughter as well, he replied: “She is too small as of now. No one from my family, including my nephews, has yet turned to join the game.”

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