|Current region||Balali, Charkhi Dadri district, Haryana, India|
|Connected members||Mahavir Singh Phogat (father/uncle)|
The Phogat sisters are six sisters from Haryana, India, all of whom are wrestlers. In order of their dates of birth, they are: Geeta, Babita, Priyanka, Ritu, Vinesh and Sangita. While Geeta, Babita, Ritu and Sangita are daughters of former wrestler and coach Mahavir Singh Phogat, Priyanka and Vinesh were brought up by Mahavir after their father, who is the brother of Mahavir, was killed in a land dispute. Mahavir trained all six of them in wrestling in their home village of Balali in Bhiwani district.
Three of the Phogat sisters Geeta, Babita and Vinesh are gold medalists in different weight categories at the Commonwealth Games, while Priyanka has won a silver medal at the Asian Championships. Ritu is a National Championships gold medalist and Sangita has won medals at age-level international championships.
The success of the Phogat sisters has attracted substantial media attention, particularly due to the prevalent social issues in Haryana such as gender inequality, female foeticide and child marriage. The Bollywood film Dangal released in India on 23 December 2016 is based on the lives of Phogat sisters with Mahavir, Geeta and Babita as its main characters. Wrestler Pooja Dhanda was screened and originally selected to play the role of Babita Phogat in Dangal which she could not play due to an injury, and later she went on to defeat senior Phogat sister Geeta in the real life national championship.
Chandgi Ram's daughters, Sonika and Deepika, sowed the seeds of encouraging girls to take up the women's wrestling in the 1990s, his protege Mahavir Phogat's daughters revolutionized wrestling, and then Sakshi Malik won an Olympic medal, which had now led to big change in mentality towards women playing wrestling due to the role of like Master Chandgi Ram and Mahavir Singh Phogat.
Mahavir Singh Phogat is a former wrestler from Balali village in Bhiwani district, Haryana, who became a wrestling coach. His father Man Singh was also a wrestler. Mahavir and his wife Daya Kaur have five children: daughters Geeta, Babita, Ritu and Sangita, and the youngest being son Dushyant. Mahavir's brother Rajpal's daughters Priyanka and Vinesh were brought up by Mahavir after the death of their father.
Mahavir was inspired to train his daughters in wrestling when weightlifter Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal in 2000. He was also influenced by his own coach Chandgi Ram who had taught wrestling to his daughters. Kaur recollects, "I told my husband not to push the girls into the sport. I was worried about how they will ever get married as pehelwans wearing shorts and cutting their hair!" Regarding the opposition by the villagers against training his daughters, Mahavir said, "Everyone said I was bringing shame to our village by training my girls, but I thought, if a woman can be Prime Minister of a country, why can't she be a wrestler?" Deprived of proper facilities in his village where his daughters wrestled against boys, Mahavir enrolled Geeta and Babita into the Sports Authority of India centre in Sonipat.
|Name||Date of Birth||Weight class|
|Geeta Phogat||15 December 1988||62 kg|
|Babita Kumari||20 November 1989||52 kg|
|Priyanka Phogat||12 May 1993||55 kg|
|Ritu Phogat||2 May 1994||48 kg|
|Vinesh Phogat||25 August 1994||48 kg|
|Sangita Phogat||5 March 1998||55 kg|
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