Antim Panghal Becomes India’s First-Ever U-20 World Wrestling Champion

Antim Panghal

She was named Antim so that her family wouldn’t welcome any more girl children. 17 years later she brings glory as India’s first U-20 women’s wrestling world champion

Here comes another proud moment for India as 17-years-old Antim becomes the first Indian girl to win World Junior Wrestling Gold. She achieved the gold medal after dominating the women’s 53kg field in Sofia, Bulgaria. 

Firstly, she defeated the European champion, Olivia Andrich by using technical superiority (11-0) and then targeted Japan’s Ayaka Kimura inside a minute and then finally the only wrestler who managed to wrestle the full six minutes with Antim was, Ukraine’s Natalie Klivchutska but ultimately was defeated by Antim (11-2).

After tackling strong opponents, Antim finally managed to secure the gold medal in the U20 World Junior Wrestling Championship. India wouldn’t have seen this victory if Antim’s parents didn’t push her to register her name on an international wrestling platform. 

Antim, the fourth girl child of Ram Niwas Panghal and his wife Krishna Kumari, was born in August 2004 in Hisar, Haryana. Since she was 10, her elder sister supported her in every possible way so that Antim could become a wrestler. Moreover, Niwas made quite a lot of tough decisions for the better future of his daughters. one was the decision to shift his family from Bhagana to Hisar to support Antim’s wrestling career. The distance between his village and Hisar was barely 20km, but that was challenging enough for them.

He took a house for rent but soon realised that they needed to get their own house. “I also needed a place where I could keep my buffaloes and my family. So, finally, I decided to build my own home outside Hisar. The buffaloes were non-negotiable. If my daughter had to wrestle, she had to get the best diet. I don’t trust the milk you get in cities,” told Niwas, who keeps three buffaloes and a cow in the family’s house on the outskirts of Hisar city.

Years of sacrifices from the family and Antim’s hard work have finally paid off as she became the first Indian girl to finish on top of the podium in the competition’s 34-year-long history. 

“I didn’t know about the record. Only after winning the final did my coaches tell me that I have become the first-ever woman wrestler from India to win the championships. It’s a proud feeling for everyone. I am thankful to my parents for allowing me to pursue wrestling, especially my didi (sister Sarita) for always supporting and encouraging me. My target is to win an Olympic medal for the country and this is just the beginning for me,” a joyous Antim said after her win.

  • Shyma 

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