Phogat: ‘We need more international exposure’

Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Babita Kumari Phogat says that the Indian wrestlers need more international exposure to win medals at the highest level.

“It would have been worse for the Indian wrestlers but for the Pro Wrestling League which gave a chance for us to compete and share the experiences with some of the best in the world.”   -  Nagara Gopal

Former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Babita Kumari Phogat says that the Indian wrestlers need more international exposure to win medals at the highest level.

Speaking on the sidelines of a FICCI event to promote women empowerment here on Monday, Babita says it is imperative to cash in on the huge craze generated thanks to the movie Dangal, which depicts the life and struggles of the Phogat sisters under their father’s tugelage.

“It would have been worse for the Indian wrestlers but for the Pro Wrestling League which gave a chance for us to compete and share the experiences with some of the best in the world including Olympic champions. Fortunately, since it is not a knock-out event, we got to know the finer aspects of how to be better performers by watching some of the greats in action,” the former World championship bronze medallist explained.

“It is sad that we don’t have a full-fledged wrestling academy despite producing Olympic and World championship medallists. Well, if any Corporate group sponsors this initiative, we will be more than happy to set one anywhere in the country,” 27-year-old Babita said.

“Ideally, we will start one in Haryana as that is one State which has a wrestler in almost every family and also given the track record of achievers from India in the sport,” the Rio Olympian said.

“Our father (Dronacharya Mahavir Singh Phogat) dreamt that one of us (sisters Babita and Geeta) winning an Olympic medal. But, that remained unfulfilled. Now, we are chasing it. As far as I am concerned, after the injury scares, I am fit and raring to go the distance,” Babita said.

“The coming World championship later this year should put things in proper perspective as far as my career is concerned. I am determined to win an Olympic medal and really working hard,” she said.