Veteran Indian wrestler Geeta Phogat said she hopes to make a comeback to the sport after giving birth last year, prompted by the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics which gives her time to prepare.
She is the first Indian women wrestler to win a Commonwealth Games medal and qualify for the Olympics back in 2012.
“Since the Olympics has been postponed, I’m hoping to compete in it. This one year will give me sufficient time to prepare for the trials and the qualification events,” the 31-year-old said on paddler Mudit Dani’s online chat show ‘In The Sportlight’.
“I have gained some weight during pregnancy, so my priority would be to get fit. And after that, whatever qualifying tournament is there, I will participate and try to book a place for the Olympics,” she added.
Phogat, who is married to fellow wrestler Pawan Kumar Saroha, gave birth to a boy, Arjun, in December last year.
The 2012 World Championships bronze medallist also spoke about how it was difficult to work out initially after pregnancy. “I started fitness training sometime back but the doctor advised me to wait as I have to feed my kid. We wrestlers are not used to doing light workouts. But since the last couple of months, I have started getting into the groove. Training is difficult without an opponent so I’m doing whatever exercises are possible at home,” the wrestler said.
Away from mat since pregnancy, the 31-year-old is aware that she has to work hard for the comeback due to healthy competition in the Indian camp. However, she’s happy with the progress Indian wrestling has made in the last few years.
“Lot of things have changed performance-wise for India in the last four to five years. Four of our wrestlers including Vinesh [Phogat] have qualified for the upcoming World Championships. This indicates how our wrestlers are prepared for the Olympics. Winning medals at the World Championship is very challenging and if we can repeat the feat as we did in 2019 then we will be strong contenders for the medal at Olympics,” she said.