In what was Babita Kumari Phogat’s first wrestling bout since the release of Dangal, a biopic based on the journey of the Phogat family, she couldn’t have disappointed the capacity crowd more at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Representing UP Dangal in the Pro Wrestling League, Babita Phogat was pinned down in just 46 seconds by former World and European champion Sofia Mattsson as her team lost 5-2 to Haryana Hammers in the 53-kg category.
Mattsson had taken a 4-0 lead within the first 30 seconds and clinched the game another 16 seconds later to register a fourth win out of the seven games for her team to win the pro wrestling league tie. Mattsson had also clinched bronze at the Rio Olympics.
Babita Phogat was slow and didn’t start as aggressively as she perhaps should have and before she could rethink on her tactics, the 2014 Commonwealth gold medallist was down on the mat, pinned to a better opponent on the night. The hype that had been created may have also gone on to affect Babita’s show last night, but should have been expected by veteran.
It was a do-or-die clash for UP Dangal but the Swede wrestler kept her calm and composure over the local favourite to clinch the tie by fall.
This was the second win for Haryana Hammers who won the toss and decided to block the men’s 74-kg tie. The Uttar Pradesh outfit then blocked the women’s 58-kg category, thus denying spectators a chance to witness Geeta Phogat in action against Tunisia’s Marwa Amri.
Ever since the release of Dangal, the Aamir Khan-starrer movie, the Phogat sisters have been in media limelight. The story portrayed the journey of the Phogat sisters over the years under the strict tutelage of their father Mahavir Singh Phogat.
Babita’s elder sister Geeta Phogat is also representing UP Dangal and all eyes will be on her as she takes on Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, representing Delhi Sultans in the latter stages of the tournament.