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Father wrestles against all odds

New Delhi: Two daughters winning medals in a single World Freestyle Wrestling Championship would have made any father proud, but for Mahabir Singh the achievements did not call for huge celebrations.

Two of Mahabir’s daughters — Geeta and Babita — arrived from Edmonton, Canada, on Tuesday morning after winning bronze medals in the 55 kg and 51 kg, respectively. Their entire family was present at the Delhi airport but Mahabir said he would not be satisfied unless one of them wins an Olympic medal.

Hailing from Bhiwani discrict of Haryana, Geeta became the first Indian woman to qualify for London Olympics but lost in the repechage rounds. So upset is Mahabir by the result that he has advised his daughters to immediately start preparing for the next Olympics in Brazil.

“Geeta was supposed to get married but I have put it off for the time being,” said Mahabir, a great wrestling enthusiast, who thwarted all opposition to make her five daughters national level wrestlers. “I want my daughters to win Olympic medals. Only this (World Championship) will not do,” he added.

So much so, Mahabir has asked his wife, a village sarpanch, to resign from her position and concentrate on the training of her daughters, especially Geeta. “My father has sacrificed a lot for our career. I will abide by all his decisions,” said Geeta after returning from Canada.

For Babita, her father said, it was a good beginning. “She has gained valuable experience from the world meetů This will help her to prepare better for the next Olympics,” said Mahabir.

The Canada meet, according to Geeta, was a tough championship. “I had a tough draw. I am happy that I could still win a medal,” said Geeta, who defeated Ukraine’s Nataliya Synyshyn in the bronze medal play-off.