A tiny village called Nibi in UP is nurturing the dreams of 18 young girls who, inspired by Sakshi Malik’s bronze medal winning performance at the Rio Olympics, hope to bring laurels to India too some day.
These girls are learning how to wrestle at the Lalsa Krishak Inter College, located 1.5 km from Azamgarh in Nibi.
Aged 15-22, they spend a couple of hours at the arena daily,
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They’ve been coached by Awadhesh Yadav since 2010 and some of them have even gone on to win national level competitions.
“When I started training the girls, some of the locals made fun of me. But I ignored their taunts and resolved to stick to the task. My resolution paid off and now there are 18 girls in the arena,” coach Yadav, who introduced wrestling at the college, told Hindustan Times.
Neha Yadav, a class 10 student, said, “I want to shine as a wrestler. The sport has immense opportunities. I want to win a medal for India in Olympics. I know this is very tough. It needs utmost commitment. Therefore, I don’t skip practice.”
Success in wrestling has also helped four girls in the area get government jobs.
“Sushma Yadav did well in various wrestling competitions. She got a job in the Border Security Force (BSF) under the sports quota. She is now a BSF constable,” said Sangita Singh, who also started learning wrestling three years ago. She is speaking of another girl wrestler, Sushma, who trained at the same arena.
Sangita has participated in national level competitions and she aspires to become an officer in Indian Railways. She is currently pursuing a post graduation degree in Hindi.