Vinesh Phogat on life after her record-breaking Asian Games gold medal
She is now the boss of her own home and akhara
A movie inspired by the life of her family (Dangal) has been a monumental hit. She became the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold in the 50kg category in the Asian Games. And now, she is set to marry the love of her life, the wrestler Somveer Rathi—Vinesh Phogat is on top.
Vinesh, like other women in her sport, has had to wrestle with the notions and realities of being a woman in a macho sport. Between the heave, the lock, the pull—the frequent forays into terrain of strength followed by the frequent retreats into feminine worlds where they do not want their muscles to show.
For Vinesh, life was mostly in the mud pit or akhara in her house, where her uncle trained her to become a wrestler. Today, at her magnificent villa right in the middle of agricultural lands deep in Bhiwani, Haryana, she has her own akhara.
She is the boss in her house, a matriarch setting the terms of engagement as she does on the mat. Everything revolves around her. She sends someone to fetch her Asian Games gold medal from some secret niche, she cradles her niece and nephews, smothers them with kisses and then cradles the medal, kisses it and straightens up to pose for the camera with nonchalant ease.
“Lots of girls here have taken to wrestling,” she says about her influence on the village and the stage. She is an icon, she loves to take on challenges. For her, the world is a village and she is the matron. She can fell them all.
Photograph: Tarun Vishwa
Styling: Rahul Vijay
Hair and make-up: Blossom Kochhar College Of Creative Arts And Design
Assisted by: Pujarini Ghosh (Styling)
Location courtesy: Amazon Fashion Studios
On Vinesh: Mohair jumper, price on request, Fendi, Polyester shorts, Phogat’s own