Siblings leave their mark

first_imgArcher siblings Dola and Rahul Banerjee have put their stamp on the Games with a gold and bronze respectively.Two sets of siblings have made their mark at the XIX Commonwealth Games. While their disciplines are different, their stories are a testament to their respective journeys and their campaigns to bring glory to the nation in the field of sport.While Geeta opened India’s gold account in women’s wrestling on Thursday, her sister Babita just missed out on replicating her sister’s feat. Babita’s effort, however, was good enough to earn her a silver medal in the 51kg freestyle category on Friday.Also on Friday, archer Dola Banerjee helped India clinch the women’s team recurve gold.Meanwhile, her brother, Rahul, was spearheading Team India to a bronze medal in the men’s team recurve.Having siblings represent the country and winning medals at the Games is a remarkable feat to say the least – considering how few Indians take up wrestling and archery as a career.WRESTLING IN THEIR BLOODA rural family’s decision to move out of the conservative culture of northern Haryana, where female infanticide does not figure as news, is already paying rich dividends to the nation and looks likely to continue to do so for years to come.Once regarded as a male-dominated sport, it is the woman grapplers who have become the rage at the Commonwealth Games.Mahavir Singh, a former wrestler, dismissed the archaic belief that precluded women from wrestling and introduced his five daughters to the sport.advertisementDespite his limited resources, and the years of hardship, Singh’s daughters have given him a reason to smile.From wrestling in mud akhadas , Geeta and Babita have made their way onto the national stage and the accolades have already started flowing in.Fresh from her gold medal-win, Geeta credited her success to her father. “It was my father who believed his daughters could do something in wrestling and now he stands vindicated with medals hanging round our necks,” Geeta told Mail Today .”Back home in Bhiwani, we did not have the facilities to practice in as we couldn’t train outside because that was not considered suitable.”So we used to practice at our home on a mud akhada that our father had created. He used to train us with great dedication and now we feel so relieved that we have repaid his faith and dedication, although there is still a lot to be achieved,” Geeta said.While Geeta and Babita are in the limelight, their sisters – Priyanka, Ritu and Vinish – are well on track to follow their footsteps.Babita claims that trio will soon burst onto the scene.BULL’S EYEAfter losing their semi-final match, Rahul Banerjee, Jayanta Talukdar and Tarundeep Rai began practising for their bronze medal play off. Given the windy conditions, the archers were having a tough time of it.Rahul’s elder sister Dola, who had won the team gold earlier in the day, chipped in with a few important suggestions.”She (Dola) told me exactly how the wind was behaving and what I needed to do to counter it. Earlier, all our arrows were falling to the right side of the target because of the wind. I shot a 6, something I hadn’t done in years. But things improved in the bronze medal match,” Rahul said.last_img

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