They grew up wanting to play a sport. They wanted to make a living off them. But societal pressures, parents and that’s constant worry about ‘marriage’ didn’t let them pursue their dreams initially. “Gharwaalon ne manaa kar diya tha,” recalls Mamta Pujari, Captain of Firebirds saying her family had rejected the idea of playing Kabaddi. They were worried about her marriage and that playing a physical contact sport like this could adversely impact her ‘currency’ in the marriage market.

For Abhilash Mhatre, growing up in Maharashtra she had seen and experimented with kabaddi but didn’t really recognise the talent in herself for a long time to come. Mhatre is the captain of Ice Divas. Her coaches had to come home to convince Mhatre’s parents that she was good at the sport and how she should be given a chance. Tejaswini Bai of Storm Queens has represented India on many an occasion and believes the sport has given a lot back to her including glory and travel.

One thing common to all is the fact that family’s got convinced when they realised playing a sport could have economic impact.