Geeta Phogat is a famous freestyle wrestler.
She won India’s first gold medal in wrestling competition in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Later, in 2012, Geeta became the first Indian female wrestler to get qualified for the Olympics.
Geeta Kumari Phogat was born on 15 December 1988 in Balali village, Haryana.
Her father, Mahavir Singh Phogat is a wrestling coach and a former wrestler.
In 2016, he received the Dronacharya Award and in 2019, he started Mahavir Phogat Sports Academy in Haryana.
Geeta’s mother, Daya Kaur is a housewife.
Geeta has three younger sisters namely, Babita Kumari, Ritu Phogat and Sangita Phogat (the youngest) and all of them are wrestlers.
Her mother and grandmother were upset when Geeta was born as they were expecting a boy.
But her father wasn’t upset and, on that day, he promised Daya Kaur that Geeta will grow up to make her feel proud.
When Karnam Malleswari won a medal at the Olympics in 2000, Mahavir Singh Phogat got inspired and decided to train her daughters into wrestlers.
At that time, he dreamt that his daughters would someday win Olympic medals.
From 2000, Mahavir Singh started the wrestling training of Geeta and Babita and at that time, Geeta was 12.
Initially, he started with running, he used to make his daughters run in the farms and then moved on to wrestling.
During that time, women wrestling was unheard-of in Haryana and was stigmatised.
Even though Geeta’s father and grandfather were wrestlers themselves, Geeta’s mother, grandparents and uncles weren’t happy with Mahavir Singh’s decision of training her daughters to become wrestlers.
Also, their neighbours and villagers weren’t kind to them and they used to taunt both Mahavir Singh and his daughters.
But all these circumstances couldn’t deter Mahavir Singh from making his daughters wrestlers.
Only after Geeta became a national champion, others started recognising and supporting her.
As her father himself was a wrestler, he started coaching Geeta.
He used to motivate her to wake up early by saying-
“The one who toils under the stars is easily spotted by god”.
Geeta’s daily routine involved waking up at 4 AM and training for 3-4 hours and then, attending school.
After returning from the school in the afternoon, she resumed her wrestling training.
As Geeta used to train intensely and not get enough rest, she used to fall asleep in the school and as her teachers knew about her rigorous training, they used to not bother her.
Competing with boys-
As there weren’t other girls to practise wrestling with, her father made Geeta to practise wrestling with boys.
When she grew up a little bit, she used to participate in wrestling matches with boys and defeat them.
As her father wanted Geeta to be invincible, he used to not tolerate her defeats and whenever she used to get defeated, he used to scold and hit her.
Taking up the Olympic dream-
As a child, Geeta hated the demanding wrestling training and used to train only because of the fear of her father.
But when she turned 17, she realised the importance of Olympics and its medals and since then, she started practising on her own will.
Geeta and Babita used to practise wrestling all through the week even on Sundays.
And they used to take breaks only during the rains as it wasn’t possible to wrestle in the mire.
Training in a mud pit-
For many years, Geeta didn’t have good facilities and practised wrestling in an open-air mud pit.
Training in it wasn’t comfortable as the mud would be frigid in the winters and blazing in the summers.
At that time, Geeta didn’t have mats and gyms and she used to practise in the mud.
She used to do pull-ups and push-ups and sit-ups on bricks and her favourite exercise is free-weight training.
Geeta got good facilities to practice only at the national camps.
A wrestling hall was constructed only after the Commonwealth Games.
Even though Geeta’s mother initially didn’t want her to become a wrestler, later, she started supporting her.
Daya Kaur used to wake up at 4 AM and take care of her diet.
Geeta won a gold medal at the 2009 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship held in Jalandhar, Punjab.
On 7 October 2010, she won a gold medal in women’s freestyle 55 kg competition in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and it was the best day of her career.
Thanks to this medal, Geeta not only got good recognition but also got a confidence boost.
In 2012, she was awarded the Arjuna Award.
Geeta won a silver medal in the women’s freestyle 59 kg in the 2013 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In 2015, she won a bronze medal in the freestyle 58 kg category in the 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships.
In 2016, Geeta was appointed as a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Haryana Police.
Marrying a wrestler-
On 20 November 2016, Geeta married Pawan Kumar (Pawan Saroha), a freestyle wrestler.
In 2019, this couple got blessed with a boy.
After getting married, Geeta started training with her husband in Rakesh Akhada Nangal Thakran, near Sonipat, Haryana.
Dangal is based on Geeta’s and her sisters’ success stories and thanks to this film, she became popular worldwide.
In this film, Aamir Khan played the role of her father and Fatima Sana Shaikh played her role.
Dangal was released on 23 December 2016 and became a box office hit.
Geeta’s favourite actors are Sunny Deol and Dharmendra.
Her future plans-
Now, Geeta has no plans for retirement.
But her future plan after retiring is to become a coach and start a wrestling academy and promote wrestling especially among girls.
So, how are you inspired by the success story of Geeta Phogat?
Share with me in the comment section below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Was Geeta Phogat’s dad really locked?
No, Geeta’s father wasn’t locked but once, he wasn’t allowed into the wrestling venue.
Does Geeta Phogat have a brother?
No, Geeta doesn’t have a brother but only sisters.
What is the educational qualification of Geeta Phogat?
Geeta Phogat is a graduate.
Geeta Phogat image credit: BollywoodKilla/Wikimedia Commons
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Bhavish · February 17, 2023 at 7:49 PM
Naveen Reddy · February 18, 2023 at 9:44 AM
You’re welcome Bhavish!