Navjot Kaur: Wrestled to Gold

Blog by Raj Kishan..

Take pride in how far you have come, have faith in how far you can go. Just keep believing in yourself. And that is what Navjot Kaur will teach you. Navjot kaur is an Indian wrestler, wrestling in the freestyle category. The ace wrestler Navjot Kaur scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold medal in the Senior Asian Championships as she clinched the shining metal in the 65kg freestyle category in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Navjot, 28, was born in Tarn Taran in Punjab on 10 February, 1990. She was encouraged to take up wrestling at an early age by her school teachers, mostly so because of her physique. Her father, pushed her and her elder sister, Navjeet singh, and supported them thoroughly to wrestle, even when fellow villagers were against the idea of girls entering a male dominated sport. Later, the 28-year-old was enrolled at the Khalsa School Sports Club in her hometown to pursue wrestling.

Navjot announced herself at the international stage with Asian Junior Championships in Manila, Philippines, in which she finished with gold in the 67kg category. In the same year, she bagged a bronze at the World Juniors.

Her first senior medal came in 2011 Asian Wrestling Championships, where she won bronze in 67kg category. And two years later she won bronze at the Wrestling World Cup. She won silver at Asian Championship in 2013. Though her most celebrated victory came in Glasgow Commonwealth games in 2014, where she clinched a bronze medal in the 69kg category.

 There was a major setback waiting; Navjot suffered a waist injury, in 2014, which left her out of the game for two years. With her, her family had to see tough times. Nobody was there to help, not people and not the government. Her father bore the entire expense of her treatment and we also borrowed money. Her father has run up a debt of Rs 13 lakh. Her younger brother, Yuvraj, 23, an aspiring cricketer also gave up his dream and started to help his father in the farm so that they could support Navjot. And after the injury it took a long rehabilitation process before she could get back to winning form.

There was another hiccup in her path, on December 30, 2017; Kaur endured one of the lowest points of her career when she was beaten in the selection trials for the Indian Commonwealth Games squad. She had severe back strain before the trials. So, she won’t be a part of Commonwealth Games, 2018.

But the Asian Gold medal was worth all the pain. She had a mixed group stage; lost to Imai 4-4 and won against Uzbekistan’s Baltaniyazova Bakhtigul 10-0 in her group to make it to the semifinal.  Then she beat Mongolian Enkhbayar Tsevegmed 2-1 in the semi final. But the final was all about Navjot; She got the better of Japan’s Myu Imai by 9-1 in a one sided affair to clinch the historic Gold.

She dedicates her victory to her elder sister and her father. Navjot Kaur burst into tears as Coach Kuldeep Malik rushed to envelop her with the Indian flag and hoisted her atop his shoulders after the win. “I had nothing to lose and I was finally wrestling without fear,” she said after creating history.

She works as a clerk in Indian Railways. But she certainly deserves more, as stated by her sister, Navjeet, “the government should treat all athletes equally. A woman cricketer is made DSP while an international wrestler who won a medal is a clerk. This is not parity.”

“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” We hope this is just the beginning for Navjot and her determination and hard work inspires many others to go for the gold.