Ever since her switch from wrestling to MMA, India's Ritu Phogat has been making the headlines and the youngster wishes for more support from the government to help the sport grow in the country. Phogat recently entered the semis of Atomic Weight Grand Prix of One Championship in Singapore.
MMA might not be a popular sport in India but Ritu Phogat is making a big name for herself in the circuit and doing the country proud. On Tuesday, Phogat urged the government to help promote MMA in the country and also suggested that the players should be considered for national awards.
"We also play for our nation… we also represent India. And I am not demanding anything here for myself, but it is for the youngsters who are opting for a career in this sport. Bollywood celebrities are following this sport. Some movies are also made," Ritu told IANS.
"Government should promote and support it as it is now gaining popularity among the masses. Sports awards like Arjuna would definitely help us in a big way. There should be a proper recognised body (federation) of MMA in India like other sports have. We have a lot of talent in India, who are willing to join the sport. There should be a proper telecast of our bouts also so that people can watch it."
Earlier in the week, Phogat got the better of the Chinese world no.2 Meng Bo and entered the semi-final of Atomic Weight Grand Prix of One Championship in Singapore.
Talking about the experience, Phogat said, "Meng Bo is a really good fighter. She is the number 2 contender. She has more experience than me. But I have proved I am among the best. I used some wrestling moves in this fight and the combination of wrestling moves and MMA style is helping me in fights really well.
"I learned a lot and got a lot more experience in my last fight. I checked her (Meng Bo) videos, and trained accordingly. I am ready for whoever I have to face in the next round. I am ready for the next challenge."
Meanwhile, she has ruled out any possible return to wrestling. "I am not thinking about coming back to wrestling. I know my father wants us to win an Olympic medal. Sangeeta will be participating in World Wrestling Championships. She has made a good comeback. Also, my cousin Vinesh Phogat… she is also working hard. She was unlucky this time in Tokyo (Olympics) but hopefully will win a medal in 2024 Paris," Ritu added.