New Delhi: Promising wrestler Ritu Phogat, who surpassed her elder siblings — Geeta and Babita — to emerge as the most expensive Indian at Rs.36 lakh in the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) auctions, still considers her sisters as her “idols”.
The 21-year-old Ritu was bought by the Jaipur Ninjas, the latest entrant in the PWL, which starts on January 2 at the K.D. Jadhav Stadium here.
Ritu, who clinched her second consecutive gold in the women’s 48kg weight category at the National Championships this year, said on Friday that her sisters were happy with her price tag.
“Both of them were happy to see their younger sister striking a good deal. For me, there is no comparison with Geeta and Babita as I have always considered both as my idols,” Ritu told reporters on the sidelines of her franchise’s logo launch event here.
Hailing from a family of wrestlers and daughter of former wrestler and coach Mahavir Singh Phogat, Ritu said she didn’t have to face the hardships which her elder sisters had to endure during their formative years.
“There was no such pressure on me…but I was always inspired by what my elder sisters had achieved in the sport. We practise together, so they are always there to help me with my shortcomings,” she said.
“There’s always a benefit when you come from a family which plays the same sport. I discuss about the game with my sisters when we are together,” she added.
Besides Ritu, the Jaipur Ninjas squad comprises of three other women wrestlers in Pooja Dhanda (58kg), Rio Olympian Betzabeth Arguello (53kg) from Venezuela and Sweden’s Jenny Fransson (75kg).
The men grapplers in the squad are Rahul Mann (65kg) Utkarsh Kale (57kg), Vinod Kumar Omprakash (70kg) and the Georgian duo of Jakob Makarashvili (74kg) and Elizbar Odikadze (97kg).
Commenting on his team’s chances in the upcoming second edition of the PWL, Jaipur Ninjas’ team owner Ram Gupta said: “We have a great team and have concentrated on building the team around a proper mix of youth and experienced wrestlers.”
“We have full faith on our players and the support staff and are confident of a great show in the league,” he added.