Against all odds: Meet Neetu Sarkar, a child bride turned champion wrestler
Married off when she was 14, Neetu Sarkar became a mother of twins at 15. However, her passion of wrestling turned her life around and how
This is that one story that would put a smile on your face and restore your faith in humanity again. Neetu Sarkar was married off at the age of 13 to a mentally challenged man who was thrice her age. If that was not enough, her father-in-law forced himself on her to make things worse.
She decided to walk out of that marriage, despite parental pressure and social stigma. But her misery did not end here and she became a mother to twins at the age of 14.
But Neetu did not let life bog her down and she decided to work hard and fight it.
"I learned to sew just by unstitching old suits and restitching them back together. I couldn't afford training. I had no money," she says.
But there was a passion inside her that was still untapped. She was inspired by wrestling when she watched Tv coverage of international games and championships in New Delhi. She started with her high-hurdling over her grandmother's bushes. However, as she was a mother to two twins she had to put her wrestling dreams on a leash.
However, life changed for Neetu when she met her yoga coach who gave her the number of her wrestling coach Ziley Singh. It was Singh who encouraged her to learn wrestling despite her tough life and twins and would always give her the example of Mary Kom.
And then at 19, Neetu became a national medalist in the senior category. And, last year the 21-year-old took part and represented India at the Junior World Championships in Brazil and won a silver medal at the National Games held in Kerala.
It was, however, not easy for the young mother of two and she had to undergo strict training. She would wake up at 3 am every day and would travel from her village Bedwa to Rohtak, Haryana, which is famous for its wrestlers. After practice she would return home and do the household work and also help her kids with her homework.
Neetu says that her father and her second husband have got her where she is today. "He's given me a new life. He pulled me out of hell and brought me to heaven. I'm able to wrestle because of him. I'm away and we don't have a usual husband-wife relationship. He's made a huge sacrifice," Neetu says.
However, her husband Sanjay fisrt thought that she was crazy when she told him that she wanted to become a wrestler. But when he saw her passion he was supportive of her and is now happy in his role as a house-husband.
Neetu is now training for this year's World Wrestling Championships and is being supported by the Sushil4Sports Foundation, started by wrestler Sushil Kumar, her biggest idol.
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