Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters are an inspiration for South Asians around the world. Not only do they bring pride to India via wrestling, they are constantly promoting a healthy dialogue on breaking down barriers for women in a, historically, male dominated society.
Mahavir Singh is a renowned athlete who is the recipient of The Dronacharya Award by the Wrestling Federation of India. He is also known worldwide as an exceptional coach and currently is a senior coach for the Olympics. He has also coached his own daughters, Geeta and Babita, who took home the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014, respectively. His niece Vinesh who is also a gold medalist was also coached by him. More than his wrestling, Mahavir is celebrated as a father who fought for the rights of his daughters and showed his community that gender is not a gating factor to achieving your goals.
Born in a small village in India, his actions to coach his daughters in wrestling was not received with support. In many South Asian countries, especially in rural areas, the role of a woman is perceived to be a homemaker. Mr. Phogat did not accept this and his message to treat sons and daughters with zero bias between them has spread like wildfire around the globe. He believes that it was his duty as a father to ask his daughters about their dreams and help them achieve those dreams.
With the help of their father, Geeta and Babita along with their sisters have become role models for young women everywhere. Geeta is the first Indian female wrestler to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Recently, their story has been captured in the critically acclaimed Bollywood movie, Dangal, which stars Amir Khan.