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Babita loses final, wins hearts

Ten years ago when they started practicing wrestling in their backyard, villagers looked at them scornfully; some even tried to dissuade them against taking up the sport.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2010 01:44 IST
Saurabh Duggal

Ten years ago when they started practicing wrestling in their backyard, villagers looked at them scornfully; some even tried to dissuade them against taking up the sport. But Geeta, who won a gold on Thursday, and sister Babita, who managed a silver on Friday, withstood the villagers' scorn stoically. Now, wrestling has made them the pride of the village.

Today, when Babita, took to the mat in the CWG, more than 100 villagers travelled all the way from Balali (Bhiwani) to watch her win a medal. In fact, some have literally been camping at the wrestling arena. On Thursday, they roared when Geeta won gold in 55 kg.

Ironically, it's these villagers, who are now consoling Babita for missing gold on Friday. "We will celebrate her silver," they said. "Once they are back, we will throw a big party."

It's a rare occasion when two sisters have won a medal each for India at the same Games. "We were expecting gold from Babita, but silver in the Commonwealth Games is not a small achievement," said Ramesh of Balali village.

Babita, who was inconsolable after losing her final bout, said, "I am really disappointed. But it was heartening to see supporters from my village here.

"Earlier, the villagers were against me for introducing the girls to wrestling and I came across a lot of sarcasm," said the sisters' father, Mahavir Singh. "But now, you can see for yourself."