MUMBAI: Veteran Indian wrestler Geeta Phogat expressed her desire to make a comeback and represent the country at the 2021 Olympic Games during paddler Mudit Dani’s online chat show ‘In The Sportlight’.
The Dangal girl said the postponement of the mega event came as a blessing in disguise for her as she now has more time to prepare for the Tokyo Games. “Since the Olympics has been postponed, I’m hoping to compete in it. This one year will give me sufficient time to prepare for the trials and the qualification events,” said Geeta, who became the first Indian woman wrestler to win gold at Commonwealth Games in 2010.
“I have gained some weight during pregnancy, so my priority would be to get fit. And after that, whatever qualifying tournament is there, I will participate and try to book a place for the Olympics,” she added.
The next episode of lockdown online live Instagram chat series ‘In The Sportlight’, which was started by the 21-year-old fast-rising Indian paddler Dani with the sole purpose of delivering inspiration to other young athletes and fans, will see badminton star PV Sindhu while champion athletes like Abhinav Bindra, Leander Paes, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju have already been part of the show.
The World Championships bronze medallist Geeta married fellow Indian wrestler Pawan Kumar Saroha in 2016 and the couple was blessed with a baby boy Arjun in December last year. Geeta said it was difficult to work out initially after pregnancy but she’s getting the momentum gradually.
“I started fitness training sometime back but the doctor advised me to wait as I have to feed my kid. We wrestlers are not used to doing light workouts. But since the last couple of months, I have started getting into the groove. Training is difficult without an opponent so I’m doing whatever exercises are possible at home,” the wrestler said.
Away from mat since pregnancy, the 31-year-old Geeta is aware that she has to work hard for the comeback due to healthy competition in the Indian camp. However, she’s happy with the progress Indian wrestling has made in the last few years.
“Lot of things have changed performance-wise for India in the last four to five years. Four of our wrestlers including Vinesh (Phogat) have qualified for the upcoming World Championships. This indicates how our wrestlers are prepared for the Olympics. Winning medals at the World Championship is very challenging and if we can repeat the feat as we did in 2019 then we will be strong contenders for the medal at Olympics,” concluded Geeta, who was the first woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics in 2012 held in London.