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Women's wrestling revolution in Haryana

IANS 11 Aug 2014, 8:04:05 AM IST
Balali (Haryana): The dusty village of Balali in Haryana, hardly barely 10 km from the national capital, was not too long ago up in arms when three sisters from the Phogat family took to wrestling, saying it was against local tradition.

 Today, the village is mighty proud of the siblings who have brought about something of a social revolution in a state infamous for gender discrimination and honour killings.

In 2010, Balali's Geeta Phogat gave India the first gold medal from the sport at the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Four years later, her sisters Babita Kumari and Vinesh won gold medals in Glasgow to make the family proud and famous.

In fact, the Glasgow Games could easily be termed a landmark event as six of the 13 medals from wrestling came from women. Silver medallists Lalita, Geetika Jakhar and Sakshi Malik hail from Haryana while bronze medal winner Navjot Kaur is from neighbouring Punjab.

With three gold medals in the family, the Phogat sisters are not only the toast of the nation but are also being hailed by the same villagers who once objected furiously to Mahavir Singh Phogat, himself a former state-level wrestler, taking Geeta and Babita to the 'akhada' (wrestling pit).