Kakran is the team leader and training instructor. Sister Megha, 17, and Geetanjali Luckad, 18, used to hoe the land, water and smooth the field to prepare for the practice. Geetanjali Luckad’s neck is a round, heavy stone, a way for her to endure.
A group of young men passed by and giggled when they saw the girls. “I don’t care about being looked down upon by men. I will make them shut up on the ring, ”Kakran said with a smile.
As a veteran wrestler, Kakran began practicing at age 6. Since there were no other female wrestlers at the time, she was forced to wrestle with her son.
“They don’t want to play with me because they know they will lose and so shame,” Kakran recalls. Some men bet her, so she can make money back to her family.
Even so, Kakran still couldn’t easily convince his parents to pursue a passion for wrestling. Today, many kushti coaches still refuse to train women.
“We are not just fighting against the opponent. We also fight with billions of Indians who don’t want to see us wrestling”, she said.
Kakran admits the most painful protest comes from her own family. “My parents didn’t support me in the first place,” she said, emphasizing that her father was also a wrestler.
“Many people don’t understand why we don’t marry and give birth, what they call a normal life,” she said.
Worried about not getting married
Luckily for the female wrestlers, Bollywood film Dangal (2016) starring actor Aamir Khan, recounted the true story of the Phogat sisters, who were their father, an amateur wrestler, Train to become world-class wrestlers. The film’s great success has contributed to changing prejudices about Indian female wrestlers.
“We started practicing four years ago, despite parents’ protests,” Geetanjali Luckad tells of his step into the kushti world. “We want to be like Divya, the female wrestler has won a lot of medals,” she said.
“Boys often laugh at us because we wear sportswear and have short hair. My mother is worried that we will never get married but I think women should be free to do what they believe”, she said.
Even getting people’s approval is not enough for Luckad sisters to turn their dreams into reality. “You have to work hard while going to school and doing housework is not easy,” said wrestler Neha Kumari, 20.
However, Kumari affirmed that the biggest challenge for female wrestlers is social prejudice. “India is still one