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Maharashtra farmer’s daughter fulfils father’s dream by winning wrestling medal in Khelo India Games

Kalyani Gadekar picked up the silver medal at the ongoing Khelo India Games to fulfil her father's dream

Kalyani Gadekar who won the silver medal in the 53 kilograms category at the Khelo India Youth Games 2021 is an example of hard work she did to fulfil her father’s dream.

This Maharashtra wrestler's journey of becoming a sportsperson was not a bed of roses. She was born to Pandurang Gadekar — who was keen that his daughter become a wrestler – in the small village Jaipur in Vidarbha’s Washim district which unfortunately did not have a coaching centre.

Undeterred, her father made alternate arrangements. Talking about it she said: “My father somehow collected soft gymnastic mats and put a bed sheet over them to give me a feel of playing on wrestling mats.”

Besides providing a makeshift wrestling arena, the father became her coach and trainer as there were no coaches in their district. When Kalyani made it to the school Nationals in her very first attempt, she got a regular coach.

Here too, Pandurang played a vital role as he sold a part of his land to move her to Sonipat for her training.

The mud pit was later used by Kalyani’s younger brother and sister for training. At present, all the three siblings are undergoing training at the Sports Authority of India’s National Centre of Excellence in Mumbai.

Speaking to the media about her silver medal, she remarked: “I am happy with my performance though. I normally compete in the 50 kg category. But as there is the 49 kg category here, I had to move up to the 53 kg class. I couldn’t cut my weight down in such a short time.”

Kalyani exhibited her tenacity as she came back twice as she lagged behind to finally beat Punjab’s Manjeet Kaur in the semi-final but lost to Haryana’s Antim in the final bout.

Also read: Youngest Kabaddi player from Jharkhand makes her debut in Khelo India