“There’s not a single Sumo ring in India,” said Hetal Dave, India’s first and only registered woman sumo wrestler way back in 2010, in an interview. Even seven years later, there has not been an end to Dave’s woes.
Despite being a regular on the maidans of Mumbai, and having represented India over the years, the 29-year-old continues to struggle for sponsors.
Dave works as a Judo teacher to support her sumo wrestling career and is a big hit with her students. Some of them have given her the moniker Sumo didi. Dave cited the examples of Milkha Singh and two recently released Bollywood blockbusters centered on wrestling as an example for a sportsman or a sport being recognised by the masses. “Should I wait for a film to be made on my life to be taken seriously?” said Dave, who even has her name in the Limca book of world records.