Geeta Phogat is a famous Indian wrestler who is famous for being the first Indian woman to win the gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, held in New Delhi. She is also the first Indian female wrestler to have qualified for the Olympics (2012).
Geeta Phogat was born as ‘Geeta Kumari Phogat’ on Thursday, 15 December 1988 (age 30 years; as in 2018) in the Balali Village of Haryana. Her zodiac sign is Saggitarius.
She attended Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, Haryana. She started wrestling under the mentorship of her father. Her village lacked proper facilities, so, her father enrolled her and her sister Babita at the Sports Authority of India Centre in Sonipat.
Height: 5′ 3½”
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Family, Caste & Husband
Geeta Phogat was born in a Jat Family. Her father, Mahavir Singh Phogat is a former wrestler and senior Olympics coach. He is also the recipient of the Dronacharya Award. Her mother, Shobha Kaur, is a homemaker.
She got married to the Indian wrestler, Pawan Kumar on 20 November 2016.
Category: 62 kg freestyle
Coach/Mentor: Mahavir Singh Phogat
Geeta Phogat made her international wrestling debut in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship held in Jalandhar, Punjab in 2009 and won a gold medal. Beating Emily Bensted from Australia with a score of 1-0, 7-0; she won India’s first-ever gold medal in the women’s wrestling in Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi in 2010.
After that, she went on to win various wrestling championships including Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and several national and international tournaments. She is also the first Indian women wrestler to have been qualified for the Olympics.
- Following the release of the 2016 film “Dangal,” which was based on the story of the Phogat Family, PR Sondhi (the coach of Phogat sisters in the 2010 Commonwealth Games), the National Sports Academy, criticised the film and demanded an apology from Aamir Khan for wrongly portraying the character of the coach in the film.
- In 2016, the Phogat Sisters- Geeta and Babita were disqualified from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Reportedly, the two forfeited their repechage bouts because of the ‘injury defaults’ during the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The United World Wrestling (UWW) delegates were not informed of their injuries, which caused their disqualification from the tournament.
- In 2018, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), banned Phogat Sisters from attending the Asian Games, held in Jakarta. Earlier, WFI had sent a show-cause notice to the wrestlers who had not shown up at the training camps held in Lucknow and Sonepat from 10 to 25 May 2018. However, after Geeta gave a reasonable explanation, she was granted permission to attend the tournament.
Awards & Achievements
- Arjuna Award in 2012
World Wrestling Championships
- Bronze (55 kg) in 2012 Strathcona County
- Gold (55 kg) in 2010 Delhi
Commonwealth Wrestling Championships
- Gold (55 kg) in 2009 Jalandhar
- Gold (55 kg) in 2011 Melbourne
- Silver (59 kg) in 2013 Johannesburg
Asian Wrestling Championships
- Bronze (55 kg) in 2012 Gumi
- Bronze (58 kg) in 2015 Goha
- FILA Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament, 2012- Gold
- Dave Schultz Memorial Tournament, 2013 – Silver
- Dave Schultz Memorial Tournament, 2014 – Bronze
- Fashion Brands: Marks & Spencer, Zara, H&M
- Fashion Designer: Ritu Kumar
- Sports: Wrestling, Kabaddi
- Actor: Sunny Deol
- Travel Destination: Mauritius
- She likes dressing up and doing shopping.
- Wrestling flows in the bloodline of Phogat family; as Geeta’s grandfather, Man Singh was a wrestler, her father, Mahavir is a wrestler, her sisters Babita, Sangeeta, and Ritu are wrestlers, and her brother Dushyant is also a wrestler. Even her cousins, Priyanka and Vinesh Phogat, who were raised by Geeta’s father after the death of her uncle, are also professional wrestlers.
- Mahavir got inspired to teach his daughters wrestling after the famous weightlifter Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian women to win a medal at Olympics. He was also influenced by his coach Chandgi Ram, who had trained his daughters in wrestling. Talking about it, Mahavir says-
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?”
- During her teenage, she and her sister Babita became the subject of criticism and mockery of the people of her village because the two girls didn’t abide by the customs of society. Recalling her past, Geeta says-
We were two teenage girls who, according to custom, should have been draped in loose clothes to disguise our curves but instead we were running around the wheat fields in shorts and lycra tops and cropped hair. Everyone was just waiting for us to put a foot wrong. They thought we’d start seeing boys or do something compromising. They almost wanted us to do something to shame our parents so that they could be proved right.”
- Her father left his job to concentrate on Geeta and her sister Babita’s training for the Commonwealth Games.
- During her childhood, her father used to wake her and her sister Babita up at 3:30 AM and train them in Akhada for 3-4 hours. They had to attend school in the daytime, and when they returned, they would be trained again for 3-4 hours in the evening. As there were no female wrestlers, her father would make them wrestle with the boys. According to Geeta, those 5-6 years were the toughest part of their lives.
- Her father used to take Geeta and Babita to train on the muddy arena, local wrestling matches and had even built a gymnasium with high-tech gym equipment for their training.
- The love story of Geeta and Pawan Kumar grew through Facebook conversations. Geeta and Pawan attended a camp for the 2012 Olympics. Pawan messaged Geeta on facebook and told her that he was a big fan of her. After a few months, they met in the US. Talking about it, she says-
Then he suddenly messaged saying that he missed me. I told him it was nice of him to say hello, but why would he miss me? He barely knew me.”
After some time, she blocked Pawan from Facebook; because he had stopped talking to her. So, Pawan started contacting her through fake Facebook IDs, and the moment Pawan revealed his identity, she blocked him again. At that time, she thought that Pawan was not serious. It was after they coincidentally underwent knee operation and ran into each other in the same hospital. That’s where they had a long talk. She began to take him seriously, and they both finally agreed to marry.
- The movie “Dangal (2016)” is a biopic on the life of Geeta and her family. Aamir Khan played the role of her father, Mahavir and Fatima Sana Shaikh portrayed her character in the film.
- Geeta met Aamir Khan for the first time in 2014 on the Aamir’s Show, “Satyamev Jayate,” where he interviewed the Phogat sisters.
- In October 2016, she was appointed as the Deputy Superintendent of Police in Haryana.
- Geeta likes gymming and loves working out.
- In 2017, she participated in the Color TV’s reality show “Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi (Season-8).”
- She has tattooed her husband’s name on her left hand.
- Geeta loves animals, and she owns a pet dog named Sheru, and a cat named Bella.