Wrestling is always been considered as a man’s terrain. Women are seldom allowed to to walk that road as it is typically a physical war behind two individuals relentlessly trying to downcast each other. The sport involves rigorous physical training and hence women are often found incompetent citing lack of physical strength. However, proving them wrong are few Indian women who dared to break the stereotype and have shown India too has some muscle.
Here are 5 India’s top female wrestlers who are are redefining physical strength in India.
1.Divya Kakran: Born in a lower- middle class family, life hasn’t been easy for Divya. However, this young female wrestler recently won gold in 70 kg freestyle at the Asian Cadet and finished second in the Women’s wrestling Championships. She also visits dangles regularly competing against men to make more money for living. She will be leading the Junior World Wrestling Championship team.
2. Geeta Phogat: She gave India its first ever gold medal in 55 kg freestyle category at the 2010 Commonwealth games 2010. Geeta who is trained by her father, a former wrestler himself is the first women to qualify for Olympics which unfortunately she couldn’t win. Among her other accomplishments, she clinched gold in the Commonwealth wrestling Championship 2009 and won gold in the Wrestling FILA Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in 2012 at Kazakhstan. She has also been selected for the 2015 World Wrestling Championships at Las Vegas, US.
3. Babita Phogat: Babita who happens to be the sister of India’s first gold medalist Geeta Phogat won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. While in 2010, she had clinched a silver in the 51 kg freestyle category in the Commonwealth Games. She has also received bronze medal at the 2012 World Wrestling Championship. She will be wrestling at the 2015 World Wrestling Championship at Las Vegas, US.
4. Alka Tomar: A recipient of 2007 Arjuna Award, she had clinched silver in the Delhi games in the 59 kg category in 2010. This wrestling champion of India had won bronze in 55 kg category at the Doha Asian Games in 2006 and Senior Wrestling Championships in Guangzhou in China 2006.
5.Anita Tomar: She is the second Bhiwani girl to win gold in the 59 and 67 kg freestyle category in the Commonwealth Games, 2010. She credited her win to her coach who was instrumental in training Anita for the game. Anita also works as a constable with he Haryana police.
6. Vinesh Phogat: She is an Indian wrestler who comes from a very successful background of wrestling with her cousins Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, both international wrestlers and Commonwealth Games medallists as well. In allowing her cousins and herself to pursue competitive wrestling, her father and uncle had to deal with immense pressure and opposition from the community in their village in Haryana. They were adjudged as going against the morals and values of their community
7. Suman Kandu: She won a bronze medal in women’s wrestling in the 63 kg freestyle category at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. She hails from Kalwa in the Jind district of Haryana
8. Kamlesh: Another wrestler who hails from Haryana. She won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games. And picked a silver in the 58 kgs in National Games in 2015.
These are just a few names but what’s heartening is that many more women are participating in the upcoming competitions for wrestling. On one hand these women often coming from low-income families, mostly in Haryana where their talent has been fostered at the akharas and on the other, this becomes a source of livelihood not just for the women alone but their families too.
Photo Credit: sportskeeda.com