Sports journalist Saurabh Duggal released the Hindi version of the authorised biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat, titled ‘Akhada’ at Press Club in Chandigarh on Tuesday. The book was launch in the presence of Mahavir Singh Phogat and Babita Phogat.
Talking about his motivations to pen Mahavir Singh Phogat’s story in Hindi, Saurabh said, “When the English version of the book was released, Mahavir ji had a sense of despair that he will not be able to read something that was written about him since he does not know the English language. That is what motivated me to write a Hindi version too.” The English version of the book was released in 2016.
On his association with the Phogat family, he said, “I first covered them for a story in 2009. I went to NIS, Patiala, where Geeta and Babita were training. I was inspired with the family’s story since then. Although I did not know that all the daughters were into wrestling. I just knew about Geeta and Babita. It was a pleasant surprise to know that all of them were into wrestling. This is one family which has changed the way how people perceive Haryana.”
Babita Phogat, an international wrestler who recently joined BJP, said, “The book for me is like a walk down the memory lane. When I read it, I get flashbacks of all the events that have taken place in my life.”
The book was released by Hindustan Times executive editor Ramesh Vinayak, while senior sports journalist Umesh Sharma moderated the discussion.