Pooja Gehlot (53kg) was claimed India’s second silver medal after going down to Japan’s 2017 world champion Haruna Okuno in the final. Gehlot lost 0-2 to Okuno in the summit clash to emulate Ravinder (61kg), who also won silver.
Pooja Gehlot, a gold medallist at the Junior European Wrestling Championships in 2018. On Monday 4th November, she won second silver when she lost to Haruna Okuna in the Under -23 WWC (World Wrestling Championship).
Pooja scripted a superb come back as she fought her way from a 2-4 deficit to win 8-4 against Yetgil, a gold medallist at the Junior European Wrestling Championships in 2018.
Her coach Kuldeep Malik said she is good in counter-attack.
Pooja Gehlot’s Journey
While Pooja initially took up the sport as a teenager, she faced the dilemma for facing men in akhadas. For someone entering in an akhada the first time, mixed training sessions could be a culture shock.
Pooja says her upper-body strength gives her an advantage and it comes from training with boys. Initially, she was reluctant when she got to know about training with boys. But she focussed on her goal of becoming a wrestler as her father always motivated her to focus on bigger things in life.
She said training with Greco-Roman wrestlers helped make her defence rock-solid.
Gehlot’s father Vijender Singh shared that back then, neighbours near their home in their village Farmana, Sonepat would advise him to stop Pooja from training at an all boy’s akhada. Her father expressed his proud on her daughter and how he admires the efforts of her coach, Anand. It was mentioned that they know wrestling is her passion and this medal is the biggest reward for them.
Pooja was initially drawn towards volleyball but due to her lack of her height, she explored other options. Her uncle, Dharamvir Singh was a wrestler and motivated her to give it a shot. Her uncle took help of Coach Dahiya who transformed Pooja’s interest into a skill. Pooja worked upon her strength and stance and this helped her build her game. It also helped her try the moves like Kalajang and Dhobi pat.
Wrestling Diet Focuses on the Right Nutrients and Proportions. Few Guidelines for Wrestlers!
- Focus more on wrestling rather than cutting weight. This will make you a better wrestler.
- Concentrate on eating natural foods that helps in increasing strength.
- Wrestlers need the same nutrients as teenagers, but need more healthy calories to meet the demands of daily training.
- Consulting a sports nutritionist will help the wrestler follow a proper diet to lose fat weight without sacrificing muscle tissue or becoming dehydrated since dehydration is a major cause of losses in strength and endurance.
- Avoid engaging into fad diets that encourage losing weight rapidly as it results in a loss of both muscle tissue and water.
- Follow a diet where losing weight gradually (1/2 kilos-1 kilos per week) as it is the best way to lose fat and keep muscle mass intact.
- Proper training not only includes proper weight lifting but also to practice proper nutrition every day.
- To achieve peak physical performance, practicing good nutrition, with right workout and strength training under the right guidance and using proper weight control methods is vital.
No Indian has ever won gold in the last three editions of the UWW Under-23 World Championships. This is a proud moment for our country and girls should often be motivated more to engage in sports just as equally as boys do. Pooja has set an inspiring example for all the Indian females that women can empower themselves and achieve their dreams by overcoming the challenges and the struggle. She hopes to follow footsteps of her leading inspiration, Vinesh Phogat someday.