Age: 18 years
Sport: Wrestling. Silver at the Youth Olympics
The story of wrestler Pooja Dhanda, a Youth Olympics silver medallist, is a shining example of how family support can turn around an athlete’s career.
After clearing her Class X board exams with an impressive 87.5% in 2007, Pooja could have got admission in Science or Commerce. Instead, she chose Arts, as she wanted to devote more time to her passion. Her target is an Olympic medal and the family backs her.
“My daughter wants to win an Olympic medal and I am confident she will not settle for anything less. To enable her to devote more time to her dream, we decided to go for Arts,” says father, Ajmer Singh.
Unlike his daughter, Ajmer has asked his son, who is not good in sports, to concentrate on academics. The boy is pursuing a course in engineering.
Pooja also tried her hand at judo and even won two international medals in the sub-junior category. But the success of Arjuna awardee Geetika Jhakhar on the wrestling mat helped Pooja make her choice.
“I want to wrestle like Geetika didi and earn fame like her. Hopefully, like her, the government will employ me as a DSP (deputy superintendent of police) under the sports quota,” she says with a glint in her eyes.
At 18, she has a whole life to pursue her dreams.