I landed into Mumbai at 3:30am. The streets were empty, it was dark, the air thick and humid but in general quiet, serene.
The scene a couple hours later was much different and my experience in general since that arrival has been anything but serene. The next day we had a press conference with all the major Indian news outlets and in between yawns I tried to convey how excited I was to be here.
That night at 10pm, I flew with the team owners to Delhi where we are stationed for the remainder of the league.
I am in India from Dec 30 - January 22nd wrestling in the Indian Pro Wrestling League for the Mumbai Maharathi. This is a true professional league complete with team owners, managers, and coaches. It is a huge production with millions of viewers across India (or so I'm told).
They have recruited some of the best wrestlers in the world and everyday we practice together in this tiny room in the basement of the hotel. Each team competes in dual meet against the others over the course of the 3 weeks and so everyone is on different schedules.
Each team consists four women's weights (48, 53, 58, 75) and five mens weights (57, 65, 70, 74, 97) on each team. On my team we have Carolina Hidalgo (COL) at 48kg, Jabraiyil Hasanov (AZE) Rio Bronze medallist at 74kg, Pavlo Olynyk (multiple times world medallist) at 97kg, and the rest are Indian wrestlers.
The days are relaxed and consist mostly of training, relaxing, I haven't been here long enough to get into a routine nor have I had the courage to explore beyond the hotel. We wrestled our first match yesterday against the Haryana Hammers.
Overall, everything has been an amazing experience so far. Hotel is nice, food is good, the training parters are amazing. Of course, there is a lot of stuff I would include on the list of "If I knew then what I know now" but I am learning something news everyday and trying to take it all in stride.
Erica Wiebe is a Canadian freestyle wrestler and Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Calgary. Her passion for wrestling and writing combine in the words of this blog, sprinkled with a strong opinion on certain matters and a hint of feminist thrown in for good measure.