She might be among the younger proteges of Mahavir Singh Phogat but she is equally fierce when it comes to a face-off in the wrestling ring. Ritu Phogat, 22, has been promoting the film Dangal on her social media account and hoping that its sequel is made on her life.
“Papa bolte hain jo 2020 Olympics me gold medal layega us pe Dangal 2 hundred per cent banegi (My father says the one who wins a gold medal in 2020 Olympics will inspire the making of the sequel to Dangal),” says wrestler Ritu, sister of wrestler Geeta Phogat. And who would she like to play her on screen? “Sonakshi Sinha, I think she has the perfect physique to represent a wrestler on screen,” she says. Her focus is to bring home the Olympic medal that her father has wished for ages.
And even her active social media presence cannot hinder that dream. “I was the first one in the family to make a Twitter account. But even this was well after I had won 7-8 international medals. During our training years papa didn’t even allow us to watch TV. And when I started an account on social media, I told papa it is more for research,” says Ritu, who is representing the team, Jaipur Ninjas.
Interestingly, she was good at studies too. “I scored 85 per cent in my 10th boards. After the 10th, I couldn’t study further because papa said that one can focus on either studies or the sport, which is true. But if I were given a choice then, I would have chosen studies.”
The wrestler, who is in news for being one of the costliest players (36 lakhs) at the ongoing Pro Wrestling League in Delhi, says the platform gives others a chance to experience wrestling with international players. “It’s just the middle-class people, who take up wrestling as a sport and the diet of a wrestler costs the maximum. And if through such sports events we can cover some of the cost, of course it is good.”
The pressure to perform is always there. When people hear the name Phogat, they get confident that I will perform well. This does create pressure.
Ritu fights in the 48kg category and is much touted to bring laurels to the country like her elder sisters. Does she feel the pressure? “The pressure to perform is always there. When people hear the name Phogat, they get confident that I will perform well. This does create pressure,” says the Commonwealth games gold medalist.
The pressure, however, doesn’t come from just her father but even her eldest sibling. “More than Papa I’m afraid of Geeta didi. But it is also she who I gel with the most.”
Which is her favourite scene from the popular film Dangal? “The one in which, Geeta calls Papa from the training camp and starts talking to him again. It happened literally that way in our real life. Whatever is shown in the film is exactly how it happened in real life.”