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Gold at Tokyo Olympics Will Fulfil My Father's Dream: Ritu Phogat Cheers for Cousin Vinesh

Ritu Phogat will be cheering for Vinesh Phogat at Tokyo Olympics

Ritu Phogat will be cheering for Vinesh Phogat at Tokyo Olympics

Ritu Phogat opens up on India’s chances in wrestling at Tokyo Olympics and her future in Mixed Martial Arts.

The story of the Phogat sister are well known across India, especially after the release of the popular Bollywood movie ‘Dangal’. The story of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his two elder daughters, Geeta and Babita, caught the imagination of the nation as Indians got to know of the dream of a man from Balali village in Bhiwani district, Haryana. A dream for which Mahavir was called a ‘mad man’ and had to wrestle with the patriarchal notions of the society.

At Tokyo Olympics, his younger brother Rajpal’s daughter, Vinesh will step up to the challenge of the world as she fights to keep his uncle’s dream alive.

She is world No. 1 and the top seed at Tokyo 2020. She is billed to be one of India’s best chances of winning a medal, while many hope that she can clinch Gold in the 53kg category.

If she does, cousin sister Ritu Phogat feels it will not only bring joy to Indians but will also fulfil his father’s dream.

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“Of course it will be an honour to get a gold medal for India and my father’s dream will come true, the reason why we started wrestling in the first place. Not only our family, but I think the whole country will be happy and proud,” Ritu told News18.com in an exclusive chat.

When asked what she told Vinesh before she flew off to Tokyo for the Olympics, she said that she told her:  “You have trained so hard and have worked so hard over the years. The whole country is pinning their hopes on you. You enjoy your journey and just give your best.”

On the professional front for Ritu, who competes in the ONE Championship, had suffered a narrow loss to Bi Nguyen by a split decision.

“My opponent was very experienced and an excellent fighter. The result was shocking not only for me but many who watched the bout too found it shocking. As far as I know, the winner is the one who dominates mostly during the fight and I thought I did dominate her in two rounds. I thought I had won but in the last when the judges decided in favour of her (Nguyen), I was shocked. I respect the judges’ decision and would want to learn from my mistakes and do better in the next fight,” she said.

Ritu will be seen in action next against Lin Heqin in a high-stakes mixed martial arts tilt at ONE: BATTLEGROUND and she has been training hard for the fight.

“I am training hard and putting in the work. Making myself better and working on my weakness, especially my striking and I am ready for the fight,” she said.

When asked how important this clash would be for her to regain a place in the Grand Prix quarterfinal spot, she said: “I want to prove that I am the best and I deserve to be in the Grand Prix.”

When asked about her partnership with UnderArmour and how it will help her journey in MMA, she said: “I am delighted and honoured to join the list of elite athletes who have taken Under Armour’s values and principles to a new generation of athletes. Under Armour’s aim of helping athletes around the globe to put in the work to achieve their goals resonates with the mindset I carried with myself when I entered the ring for the first time."

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first published:July 23, 2021, 07:32 IST