The third-edition of Playwrite, a premier Sports Literature Festival of India held at the Hyatt Regency, here witnessed some scintillating sports discussions by veterans and youth alike amidst an enthusiastic gathering of sports lovers. OP Singh IPS Principal Secretary Sports, Haryana was the Chief Guest on the occasion.
The first session named Olympic Dreams was kick-started by one of the founders of Playwrite – Vivek Atray, a former IAS officer, a leading motivational speaker and an author. The session featured the star behind Aamir Khan’s movie Dangal, Babita Kumari Phogat, a renowned female wrestler, who won the gold medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games.
While narrating the stories of her childhood to a packed audience, Phogat remarked that hadn’t it for her strict father, she wouldn’t have become who she is and perhaps, been confined to the four-walls of the home as a shy girl.
“Dangal movie wasn’t an exaggeration. In fact, in reality, I and my sisters weren’t even allowed to attend family weddings by my stringent father, if they came in between our trainings. We had nowhere to escape to, when your own father is your coach,” said Phogat.
Reminiscing her past further, she also mentioned how she would often ask her mother as to why her life’s made so difficult by father. “My mother would just reply, “bas 2 saal aur” (wait for just two more years). This continued until I reached the place where my father wanted me to.”
Babita also talked about how people in her own village would taunt her and her sisters for wearing shorts and playing amongst the boys. “However, in such times, my father would just say – ‘You just do the hard work, leave everything else on me’”.
At Playwrite, Phogat was accompanied by her husband, Vivek Suhag, who’s a wrestler himself. When she was asked if her life changed in any way after marriage, she pointed to the fact that she’s really lucky to have found a husband like her own father who is extremely supportive to her.
The third session called ‘Hockey: The 70s Show!’ saw the participation of hockey legends like Ajit Pal Singh and Ashok Kumar (son of Late Padma Bhushan, Major Dhyan Chand). The session was hosted by renowned senior journalist Prabhjot Paul Singh. The event had a surprise guest the great Hockey Legend – Balbir Singh Sr, who managed to make it even when he has not been keeping well since long now.