Geeta breaks the stereotypes | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Geeta breaks the stereotypes

chandigarh Updated: Aug 09, 2012 13:11 IST
Sukhwant Basra

Just as Mary Kom has struck a huge blow for the pride of Indian women, there is another pioneer set to take to the ring on Thursday. The 23-year-old Geeta Phogat will be the first Indian woman wrestler to participate in the grandest sporting event for her trade.

She takes on Athens silver and Beijing bronze winner Verbeek Toya Lynn of Canada in the opening encounter of her 55 kg freestyle event but far from being cowed down, the woman from Billali village in Haryana is raring to go.

"Preparations are complete. I trained extensively and after I got my berth this April, the motivation level has increased further. Stints in the US and Belarus have helped me a lot."

Phogat is very clear about her role as an inspiration for other women wrestlers. "Earlier there was always a question mark but after my qualification even other women feel they can make the cut. This will help my sport grow."

It was, of course, the path-breaking bronze by Sushil Kumar at Beijing that spurred her on. "I felt that, being an Indian, if Sushil could get our country a medal, then why not me and others too? I have watched the videos of my opponent and am as ready as I can be."

With her typical wrestler's cauliflower right ear the next question was obvious given the prominence marriage holds in the lives of women from rural India. "That's not an issue now as I recently got engaged," laughs Phogat. "Indian women need to break free of their stereotyped image and explore new avenues."

Her betrothed will also be in the stands cheering her on as Phogat looks to break new ground for all the women rooting for her back home.