Champion wrestler Babita Kumari Phogat, who can floor the best of opponents on her day, was herself floored by the Happening City of Hyderabad.
“This is my first visit and I really love this place for its cleanliness and so much of green cover all over the long stretches,” Babita exclaimed at the FICCI Ladies Organisation event on women empowerment here on Monday.
“Being sports persons who travel the world over, we feel really bad when the foreigners talk about some of the ugly streets in India. But, this is one of the very few cities in India about which I can speak highly now. I would love to keep coming,” Babita said.
There is a touch of confidence with which the champion wrestler handled the questions and it is also a trait which she expects every Indian girl to possess in their respective fields. “It is important for the girls not to fear about anything. Or else, they will be left far behind. This is one big lesson our father (Dronacharya Mahavir Singh Phogat) taught us right from our childhood. I wish every parent encourages their children, especially girls, to be like that,” she remarked.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who was one of the two sisters (Geeta Phogat being the other) on whose struggle to stardom under the tutelage of their father was the theme of Aamir Khan’s hit movie Dangal , surprised many when she said that her father really hated cricket. “When he came to know my brother was playing in the hot sun, he used to go on a scooter and bring him back and give a thrashing. He always felt that it denied space for other sports to develop in India for long,” she explained.
Questioned whether she has any jealousy issues with her famous sister, Geeta (India’s first-ever woman gold medallist in Commonwealth Games wrestling), a smiling Babita said there is an intense competition within the family to keep improving. “If she wins a silver, then I target gold. And, I think it is good for anyone to dream big and work hard,” she said.
On Dangal movie, Babita felt that they were more recognised faces now thanks to that and more importantly many parents are bringing girls to Akhadas. “When we started wrestling, it was a sport meant only for men. So, in a way, we broke the barriers thanks to our father’s efforts,” she said.
Babita signed off saying that any young athlete, boy or girl, should just keep moving forward, ignoring the criticism, sometimes cheap comments too, to realise the bigger goals in life and in sports.