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Hope PWL inspires girls to take up wrestling: Vinesh Phogat

21-YEAR OLD Vinesh Phogat is one of the most promising female grapplers in the country, and the youngster believes the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) has the potential to attract more girls to the sport.

Wrestling as a serious sport is particularly popular in the northern parts of the country, and only a few regions such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have seeen women wrestlers. According to Vinesh, the introduction of a full-fledged league will provide more exposure, especially to girls wanting to pursue wrestling as a career.

Vinesh, a gold, silver and bronze medallist at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Championship this year and Asian Games last year, comes from a Haryana-based family consisting of six sisters. All of them had the support of their family and hence took up wrestling. A film based on their story is also set to release soon. Vinesh believes PWL holds the key to popularise wrestling.

“When people across the country watch girls wrestle, they may be encouraged and allow their daughters to take up wrestling.

“Maybe the girls will get inspired by seeing us fight. Time will tell how much popularity women’s wrestling can gain from the league,” Vinesh told The Hindu after signing her PWL contract with Delhi Veer in New Delhi on Monday.

“I hope wrestling becomes more popular. That will be a bigger source of happiness.”

Vinesh is aware that PWL is a double-edged sword, and has its fair share of positives and negatives.

 “The Olympics (next year) is our main target. The league will help a lot as the international events are few and far between."

“This is like an international-level event. We will know about our preparedness ahead of the Olympic qualifying event and will get some time to work on our shortcomings.”

“Working with the overseas wrestlers will be helpful. For example, the Swedish girl (Sofia Mattesson) is in my team will tell me the weak points of wrestlers from her country bought by other teams.

The flip side is the Indian girls in other franchises will share their inputs about my game with their overseas mates,” concluded Vinesh.

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