The Phogat family is well-known all across India, thanks to their wrestling prowess. Starting from Geeta Phogat to the now star Vinesh Phogat, the Phogat sisters have won countless laurels for India in wrestling.
While all the four sisters – Geeta, Babita, Ritu and Sangeeta, along with their cousins Vinesh and Priyanka are highly talented wrestlers, the name of two – Geeta and Babita have been immortalised in the minds of the Indian sports fans, thanks to the Bollywood movie Dangal.
Such has been the impact of the movie that whenever someone talks about the Phogat family, the first and sometimes the only name people remember is Geeta and Babita. While this can also be attributed to Ritu switching to Mixed Martial Art (MMA) and Sangeeta, Priyanka still toiling at domestic circles, the same cannot be really said about the 26-year-old Vinesh Phogat.
Over the years, Vinesh has established herself as one of the most feared wrestlers in the world and yet continues to lag behind in terms of popularity compared to Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari.
The popularity also leads to people believing Geeta and Babita to be better than Vinesh on the mat. But is it really so? Let's take a look at their performances at the four major events – World Championships, Asian Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, to get a better understanding.
The eldest of all, Geeta Phogat rose to fame in the year 2010 when she was crowned the Commonwealth Games champion in New Delhi. This was also India's first-ever gold medal in women's wrestling at the Commonwealth Games, which naturally meant that Geeta Phogat went from being a relatively unknown quantity to an overnight sensation in the country. Besides, she also boasts of a bronze at the Wrestling World Championships 2012 and two more bronze medals at the Asian Championships in 2012 and 2015.
Just a year younger than Geeta, Babita Kumari too rose to fame in the 2010 Commonwealth Games when she clinched a silver medal. The 31-year-old has since won a gold and silver each at Commonwealth Games and also has a bronze medal each from Asian Championships and World Championships in her kitty.
Vinesh Phogat, on the other hand, beats her cousins fair and square in terms of tournaments won. Having shot to fame through a Youth Wrestling Championships silver in 2013, she has gone on to be crowned the Commonwealth Games Champion twice in two appearances. Besides, she also boasts of multiple Asian Championships medals and has a World Championships bronze to go with a gold and bronze at Asian Games – an event where none of the other Phogat sisters has tasted success.
|Name||World Championships||Asian Championships||Asian Games||Commonwealth Games|
|Geeta Phogat||1 Bronze||2 Bronze||-||1 Gold|
|Babita Kumari||1 Bronze||1 Bronze||-||1 Gold, 2 Silver|
|Vinesh Phogat||1 Bronze||1 Gold, 3 Silver, 4 Bronze||1 Gold, 1 Bronze||2 Gold|
While Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari can indeed be credited for kickstarting a Women's wrestling revolution in India, one needs to credit Vinesh Phogat for carrying forward the legacy equally.