Wrestling her way to glory

Wrestling her way to glory

Just a few years back when we used to talk about wrestling, only one name used to come to our mind – Dara Singh. The iconic wrestler who had also been part of many Bollywood films and made the rustic old sport a household name.

But, times have changed! Now, when we talk about wrestling, names like Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Amit Kumar and Babita Kumari comes to our mind, wrestlers who bagged gold
in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow.

Amongst the women wres­tlers, Babita Kumari put up a stunning show to win the gold medal beating Canada’s Brittanee Laverdure in the final of the women’s 55kg free­style category in CWG. The 24-year-old Kumari, who had bagged silver in the 2010 CWG, won 9-2 against the 32-year-old Laverdure, who ended up injuring her finger during the bout.

Talking to Metrolife about her achievements and experiences in the CWG 2014, Kumari, said, “Even after winn­ing I couldn’t feel anything special. I was quite normal as if I was prepared to win. Like others I did not cry or shout... I was just normal.”

“My experience in Glasgow was great. Although I had some tough opponents, but my skills paid off quite well. Actually, the toughest challenge was to play against Laverdure. But my hard work and dedication helped me win the gold medal,” the you­ng grappler added.

Wrestling since she was 11 years of age, her guru and co­a­ch has always been her fath­er. “My father Mahavir Singh has been my guru since the beginning and I have never got any training in an akh­a­­da. Even my grandfather was a wrestler. He along with my mother has always suppo­rted me and encourag­ed me to take up this sport,” she said.

Indeed, she hails from a family of wrestlers which has done much for the promotion of this sport with her sisters serving as inspiration for young girls who want to take up the sport. “I have four sisters and a brother who are all into wrestling now. My four sister are international players and my brother has just started. This only proves that girls are nowhere behind the boys, be it in education,
politics, boxing or wrestling.”

Although, she initially faced criticism from the society and neighbours for pursuing this very ‘male-oriented sport’, but “my gold medals helped change the mindsets. People used to say that it is a man’s game and had issues about me wearing shorts and practising with men. Par ab un logon ka muh band ho gaya hai. Now the people say that I have even outshone the boys and have made them and the country proud,” said the young wrestler.

Giving credit to wrestling for boosting her confidence as a woman, Kumari, said, “This sport has given me lots of confidence. Also, it has not only made me physically fit, but mentally tough too. For other girls as well, I wou­ld say that being physically fit is very important to keep oneself safe in today’s world.”

Doing great on the professional front, Kumari who is pursuing MA in Library Science is not ready for marria­ge before 2016. “It will happen definitely, but not now.”

Sad about missing out on all the girlie stuff, like painting her nails and wearing earrings, Kumari, said, “I do miss all these but when you are wrestling, you don’t have time to indulge yourself in all these fancy things. And when we do get the time, we like to take a well-deserved rest.”

Currently, Kumari is busy preparing for the Asian Games to be held in Incheon, South Korea next month.