Haryana women wrestlers garnered medals in the recently-concluded Asian Championships in Bangkok to make the country proud but their celebrations had to wait due to the ongoing agitation in the state.
Anita (bronze in 63kg), Vinesh (bronze in 53kg) and Priyanka (silver in 55kg) all of whom hail from the Bhiwani district of Haryana, returned home to find their home under curfew as the 10-day long protest reached boiling point.
“When we won the medals in the Asian championship we were very happy and excited that we, Haryana girls, have made the country proud. But the day we returned and came to know about the protests and incidents, it ruined our happiness. The feeling of pride of hailing from Haryana vanished,” said Vinesh, who had also won medals in the 2014 Asian and Commonwealth Games. “Because of some anti-social elements and politicisation, the protest has taken a wrong direction, damaging public property. The episode has brought a bad name to the state and tarnished its image in the country,” added the 21-year-old.
Vinesh and Priyanka (22) are the younger sisters of the famous Phogat wrestlers - Geeta and Babita. Ritu, another sister from the family, was also part of the Asian squad but missed a medal by a whisker.
Anita, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, is an inspector with Haryana Police and hails from Dhani Mahu village in the same district.
“There are ways to protest and put your demands across. By damaging public property people have made their own loss. Now, it’s we (referring to Haryana), who have to bear the cost of the damage,” said Priyanka. “Over the years, a lot of development had taken place in Rohtak. But during the protests a lot of damage was done that has caused a setback,” Vinesh added.