Asian gold medallist Navjot Kaur living her sister’s wrestling dreams
Navjot Kaur beat Japan’s Miya Imai 9-1 in a one-sided contest in the final of the women’s 65kg freestyle category to win gold in the Asian Wrestling ChampionshipsUpdated: Mar 03, 2018 23:33 IST
Navjot Kaur, a resident of village Bagradia of Tarn Tarn district in Punjab, more than made up for missing out on a berth in the wrestling squad for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, by becoming the first Indian women wrestler to clinch gold in the Senior Asian Wrestling championship in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Saturday. Kaur, 27, won gold in the 65 kg freestyle category.
This is the third medal for Navjot in the continental championship. Earlier, during the 2011 edition of the meet in Tashkent, Navjot had won bronze and was the only Indian woman who had made it to the podium. In the 2013 Asian meet, she had won silver.
“Navjot was quite upset when she couldn’t make it to the Commonwealth Games squad. Before the trials she had a back injury and because of that she couldn’t perform well and missed the 2018 CWG bus. But I am happy that she is back in the reckoning and once again made all of us proud by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to clinch gold in the Asian continent,” said Navjot’s elder sister Navjeet Kaur, also a former national medalist wrestler.
Living her sister’s dream
Navjot, who had won bronze medal in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, is living Navjeet’s unfulfilled dream of winning an international medal.
It was only because of Navjeet that Navjot was able to join a male-dominated sport. Navjeet won the national championship thrice and as many inter-university medals between 2000-2006, but later injuries to her back and knee forced her to retire.
“During my sporting career I made it to the national camp twice, but on both the occasions I missed out on a berth in the Indian squad. So whenever Navjot represents the country and wins a medal, I feel that it’s me whose is donning the national jersey. She is living my dream,” said an elated Navjeet. “I still recall our initial days when we both used to cycle 12km daily to reach out our training venue.”
Marriage plans shelved
In her village, 27 is considered late for a girl to get married but Navjot’s family is supportive on this front and has given priority to wrestling. “Since the time Navjotjoined Indian Railways in late 2014, we are getting a number of good marriage proposals for her. But as wrestling is her passion and she wants to focus on 2020 Olympics, we have shelved her marriage plans till then,” said father Sukhchain Singh Sidhu who is a farmer with a small landholding of four acres.