How Divya Kakran tackled poverty and family objections to be crowned Asian Wrestling Champion twice
It came as no surprise when Divya absolutely crushed her opponents to be named the Asian Wrestling Champion in the women’s 68kg division for the second time in as many years.
Divya Kakran is not a very obscure name in the Indian sporting fraternity anymore. The 23 year old from New Delhi has been making waves at the international level since the past five years.
So, it came as no surprise when Divya absolutely crushed her opponents to be named the Asian Wrestling Champion in the women's 68kg division for the second time in as many years.
Entering the Asian Wrestling Championship in Almaty as a defending champion, Divya ended the tournament unbeaten. If she pinned down her opponent, Tsevegmed Enkhbayar of Mongolia, to earn a victory by fall in her first bout, then she registered a closely fought 8-5 win over Kazakhstan's Zhamila Bakergenova to put herself in a pole position to win the gold medal.
With a gold medal already assured, thanks to her twin wins, Divya recorded a clinical 2-0 victory by fall in less than one minute against the South Korean Sujin Park in her third round bout.
Divya Kakran might boast of a very impressive CV with multiple Asian Championship medals, podium finishes at events like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Championships, but her rise to the top was never rosy.
Divya Kakran comes from a not so sound financial background. Her mother used to stitch langots – a cotton loin cloth which the wrestlers in rural parts of India wear, while her father used to sell them at dangals to earn a living.
The Kakran family had two other kids as well – both boys who were elder to Divya. As a child Divya used was to drawn to the sport of wrestling watching both her elder brother immerse himself in the sport. But, the family could support the wrestling dream of only one of their kids and so her brother dropped out of sport to give Divya the opportunity to realise her dreams.
Divya's earnings from winning the local tournaments were something her family depended on. If she failed to win, it would put her family in a financial crunch.
Objections from the family
Divya faced immense criticism when she started off with wrestling. Her family, especially her grandparents and mother, did not approve of her fighting with boys of her age in the mud.
Besides a lot of other people too forced her father to make her leave the sport, but he stood like a rock behind Divya and encouraged her to chase her dreams. If not for her father, she would have been nowhere near the wrestling scene.
Despite all odds, Divya Kakran has established herself as one of the most exciting Indian talents to watch out for. Her rise to the second Asian Championship crown from poverty is nothing short of inspirational!