The next Hulk Hogan or Dwayne Johnson could be coming out of Havant after a new wrestling school opened in the town.
The Prince of Mumbai, aka Rishi Ghosh, has opened the Havant based Quality Wrestling Academy to provide a place for budding wrestlers to keep fit and learn the skills of the sport.
Rishi hopes the academy can also provide a potential platform for people to follow his lead in developing a professional career in the sport.
Kapow heavyweight champion, Rishi, said: ‘In the last 17 years I have wrestled all over the world but I am really excited about this venture. You can see the passion and excitement amongst the people here today and I am very hopeful it will become a big sport in the area.’
Participant, George Kanellopoulos, 24, hopes the club can provide a springboard to a successful career.
‘I have always loved wrestling and have watched it since childhood. I moved to England from Greece in the hope of becoming a professional. Hopefully this club will help me to achieve this,’ he explained.
Fellow participant, Kieron Satturley, added: ‘I have been wrestling for 18 months. It is an excellent sport for fitness and the camaraderie at all the sessions is brilliant. Having this new facility is great for wrestling fans.’
Whilst the majority of participants at the first session were males a number of females were also keen to get involved.
Tabatha Pugh said: ‘I have been wrestling for just over a year and I would like to get into it professionally. Wrestling is a great sport for girls as people are accepting and don’t judge you based on gender.’
For Rishi, the pantomime spectacle of the different characters involved is equally as important as the physical aspect of the sport.
‘The character side of the sport is vital. It is what emotionally connects the audience to the sport. This is why we also provide training on the character performance,’ he explained.
This element of performance is one of the big attractions for Tabatha.
‘I think the best part about wrestling is taking on the role of your character. My character is Hyde – taken from the novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This enables me to play both the good and the bad guy when I go into the ring,’ she explained.
Rishi eventually hopes to train club members to a standard where the academy can put on their own showcase events for the public.
Adult sessions are open for people to take part every Saturday and Tuesday with a junior session (11-16) also scheduled for Tuesday evenings.
‘Wrestling is great fun for children and I have already been in touch with a number of local schools,’ explained Rishi.
Anyone interested in becoming part of the academy should contact Rishi on 07783 946609.