Mixed Martial Artist Ritu Phogat: Ritu Phogat, who started her career as a wrestler and is now in mixed martial arts signed to ONE Championship spoke with SheThePeople about her transition from the field of wrestling to martial arts. The athlete said she always wanted to do something different and was fascinated with martial art, but did not know how to get started in the field.
"As my father (Mahavir Singh Phogat) was already in the field of wrestling, I along with all of my sisters also learnt the sport. But I always wanted to do something different since childhood," said Phogat.
How MME happened
"I wanted to do something no one else had, so I used to watch videos of mixed martial arts on YoutTube while I was still in wrestling. The game fascinated me with its punches and netter, but at the time I had no idea about its training in India. I always wondered why the sport was not well known in India and had no champions from the country. I eventually transitioned from wrestling to mixed martial arts."
On Having a "Girl Gang"
The mixed martial arts player talked about the importance of having a sisterhood a girl gang. Phogat said that she believes that a girl can connect better with another girl so her sisters are like her friends.
"A girl might not be able to share everything with her mother, but can easily do so with her sister, as sisters are like friends. My elder sister Geeta (Phogat) has always seen me as a kid, so I discuss everything with her which clears my mind," Phogat said stressing the importance of a sister in a girls life.
Keep a positive outlook and do not give up
After a person gains prominence and has fans, they also face the pressure of performing well. Talking about the topic of mental health and the importance of addressing it, Phogat said that everyone faces certain moments in their life that makes a person want to give up, but it is important to try being mentally strong and keep a positive attitude.
The 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling gold medalist also added that when times are hard, one should think that there will be a better future, as it makes it easier to go through these times.
Women breaking stereotypes
The state of Haryana has a number of social issues like gender inequality, female foeticide to name a few. However, Ritu Phogat and her sisters always had the support of their father as he encouraged them to follow their dreams. Talking about the issue Phogat said that in her hometown girls are not often encouraged to chase their dreams, and when her father encouraged her and her sisters to train for wrestling, many of her family members were against it. People would say that girls don't play sports.
Her elder sisters father and faced these difficulties but broke all stereotypes and won medals in international competitions. Adding further on the topic of inequality, Phogat said that even in today's time when girls from her state have been making their name in the field of sports, things are still far from being good.
Log Kya Kahenge?
When asked about what she thinks about people's comments and criticisms, Phogat said that she has never given a thought about what people say. She takes her own decisions.
She spoke about an Instagram post where she received a number of negative comments. "I posted a picture of Instagram and it received several negative comments and became news. People said that I have deviated from my dreams. But captioned my post saying that I don't care what people think about me, and I enjoy my life on my own rules."