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I am India’s first and only female sumo wrestler: Hetal Dave

She is a national level sportsperson representing India with – no recognition, no sponsorship and no perks. Sad but true.

Hailing from a small town in Rajasthan but being a hardcore Mumbaikar at heart, Hetal Dave, the only Indian female Sumo wrestler is a ‘national pride’ and deserves nothing less.

Dave’s immense passion and dedication to become a sportsperson drove her to successfully learning Judo. She started learning Judo at the age of five, since then Dave never looked back. While she was getting better at Judo, Dave was deeply inclined towards Sumo wrestling looking at boys practicing for Sumo tournaments. And the rest is history!

Her story may come across as too-good-to-be-true, but her life hasn’t been less than a battle ground from the moment she decided to step into the world of sumo wrestling. Born and brought up in a conservative Brahmin family, Dave surprisingly didn’t face any resistance from her family to follow her dreams; which for most parents in the community is not initially acceptable.

Putting this factor aside, what has given Dave a hard time is lack of sponsorship. This has had a proportionate impact on participating in various competitions across the world. Dave has earned significant accolades abroad in her initial phase as a sumo wrestler. But that wasn’t a cake walk. She had to go door to door for funds and faced negations many times being told that she wasn’t good enough as a girl to play this sport. Literally.

And since then, nothing has changed. She is a national level sportsperson representing India with – no recognition, no sponsorship and no perks. Sad but true.

Glance into her struggle as the national pride Hetal Dave shares her extraordinary story with ThisHour.in.


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