Geeta Kumari's sister Babita could be a Friday star

Oct 08, 2010, 06:47 IST | Ashwin Ferro

Gold medal-winning wrestler Geeta Kumari's sister Babita has a great chance to be on the CWG podium today

Gold medal-winning wrestler Geeta Kumari's sister Babita has a great chance to be on the CWG podium today

WOW! Geeta Kumari with her gold medal yesterday.

Sibling rivalry in sport normally results in one of the two family members ending up on the losing side! However, Haryana's wrestling sisters � Geeta and Babita Kumari have used it to their advantage, and the results are there for all to see.
Yesterday, 21-year-old Geeta won India's 14th gold medal at the CWG here when she downed Australia's Emily Bensted in the 55kg final, and today her younger sister Babita (20) is expected to do the same in the 51kg.

Pehelwan Ram
Geeta and Babita owe all that they know in wrestling to their father � Mahabir Singh, who was a student of legendary pehelwan Chandgi Ram.

According to the sisters, their father was so inspired after seeing Karnam Malleswari bring the country its first bronze medal in weightlifting at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, that he decided his daughters would be athletes too. And to achieve this, Mahabir built a wrestling akhara inside his home at Billali village in the rural strip of Haryana, even though it meant putting off not only his entire village but also some of the elders in his own family.

"He would make the sisters fight with each other as he felt it was the perfect way to train. And from the outcome, it looks like his planning was perfect indeed.

"Geeta has won today and in all likelihood Babita will also clinch gold tomorrow," Hargobind, one of the chief coaches of the Indian wrestling contingent here, told MiD DAY yesterday.

The sisters have already won a host of medals at the junior level, however they made headlines at the senior level when they clinched a gold medal each at the Commonwealth Championships in Jalandhar last year.

Such is their prowess on the rubber mat, that India's freestyle chief coach PR Sondhi had already announced well before the start of the CWG that the two gold medals (51kg & 55kg) here are theirs for the taking.

"We do a lot of training on the mat �six hours a day. Geeta and Babita are two of our finest wrestlers," Sondhi said, even as he now awaits another day to stand vindicated.

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