These three Indian women wrestlers have fought all odds to become wrestling champions. Read to know about their journey from Haryana to Rio.
When we speak about states with low sex ratio in India, the first state that comes to our minds is Haryana. We can’t deny the fact that it has the worst sex ratio as per the 2011 census. A state where ‘honor killing’ and ‘female foeticide’ is ‘news as usual’.
Despite the odds, there are a few ‘rising stars’ who have made a special place not only in the state, but globally as well. Vinesh Phogat, her cousin Babita Kumari and team mate Sakshi Malik, have all qualified for the Rio Olympics wrestling championship and the one common thread that binds all of them is that they hail from Haryana.
The sisters sisters Vinesh Phogat and Geeta Phogat broke all barriers to sustain as best wrestlers in India. It’s commendable, their having worked so hard, to achieve their dreams hailing from a state where love marriages and bearing a girl child is no less than a crime.
Their father and uncle who was also their trainer was a wrestler himself, trained them despite all odds. As young girls, they battled controversies. “People would throw us dirty looks when we wore shorts to practice. They would gossip and… say ‘this is wrong’,” said 21-year-old Vinesh, in an interview to the Times of India. Sakshi’s parents were told that their daughter would grow up with puffed out cauliflower ears which would prevent her from attaining suitable alliances.
Geeta Phogat (elder sister of Vinesh) was the first Indian wrestler who had qualified for London Olympics in 2012 and bagged many medals in commonwealth games and other competitions. Gradually there was a shift in attitude of the people who once looked down upon the ‘Phogat girls.’
If they had not received any support from their families, their condition would just be like thousands of other girls who have been forced to get married, ignoring there dreams and desires. In fact, they do talk about how different their lives are, when compared to their childhood friends.
“My life is very special compared to my friends. Some of them study a bit and then do household chores. The married ones are busy taking care of their husbands and babies,” said Sakshi.
Now, younger sister Vinesh Phogat is all set to repeat history with her teammates, to rock the women wrestling championship. A young village girl who had suffered a lot and had been the centre of criticism by the ‘Ghoonghat clad’ women and a male dominant society.
Vinesh is just 21 years old and has qualified for 48 kg group, while Babita Kumari and Sakshi Malik for the 53 kg and 58 kg respectively. They will fight for the coveted title in the Indian women wrestling world level championship.
One doesn’t always need to depend on society to rise. We have so much to learn from these young participants. Hope they will become inspirations to all youngsters and to those who left their dreams midway due to family and societal pressure.
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