India player Sanju, who was awarded the ‘AIFF Emerging Women’s Player’ this year, says she draws inspiration from the Phogats, whose journey has been captured in the recent Aamir Khan-starrer Bollywood flick Dangal.
“Yes, they have set a benchmark for every girl from Haryana. But the problems they have endured (and overcome) is nothing less than a fairytale,” Sanju told www.the-aiff.com.
“I know them closely as we were from the same college. Back then, they didn’t hog the limelight but their struggle, their zeal to scale heights has inspired me since then.”
‘Dangal’ talks about how Mahavir Singh Phogat broke the image of wrestling as a male preserve in the country, particularly in patriarchal Haryana, by encouraging his daughters to take up the sport despite facing barbs from the community.
While Geeta was a gold medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, Babita went on to clinch gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games four years later.
Sanju, meanwhile, made her debut for India at the South Asian Games earlier this year. Since then, the 20-year-old midfielder has gone on to establish herself as an integral part of the national team.
In the ongoing SAFF Women’s Championship, she came on as a substitute and scored in added time as India beat Afghanistan 5-1 in their opening encounter.