March 18: Ritika Phogat, a cousin of champion wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat, died by suicide on Monday, the Haryana police said today.
The police said Ritika Phogat, 17, was believed to be upset at narrowly losing a wrestling tournament final.
She had participated in a state-level competition at Bharatpur in Rajasthan between March 12 and 14.
“Ritika, the wrestler, and cousin of Babita Phogat, died allegedly by suicide on March 17. The reason behind it might have been her defeat at a recent wrestling tournament in Rajasthan. Investigations are underway,” Ram Singh Bishnoi, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Charkhi Dadri, told the media.
According to the police, she had been depressed about losing the final by one point.
She was found dead at the home of her uncle and legendary wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat late Monday.
Ritika had trained with Mahavir Phogat, a Dronacharya award winner who runs a sports academy. Geeta Phogat’s post reflected the family’s shock and grief.
“May Ritika, my little sister, my cousin, rest in peace. This is a very tragic time for my family. Ritika was a very able wrestler…don’t know why she did this. Winning and losing is a part of life and no one should take such a drastic step,” she tweeted in Hindi.
भगवान मेरी छोटी बहन मेरे मामा की लड़की रितिका की आत्मा को शांति दे। मेरे परिवार के लिए बहुत ही दुख की घड़ी है। रितिका बहुत ही होनहार पहलवान थी पता नहीं क्यों उसने ऐसा कदम उठाया। हार-जीत खिलाड़ी के जीवन का हिस्सा होता है हमें ऐसा कोई क़दम नहीं उठाना चाहिये 🙏😢 pic.twitter.com/RQFhM1jVpi
— geeta phogat (@geeta_phogat) March 18, 2021
The teen’s cousin Harvindra Phogat said the family never realized how deeply she had been affected by the loss. Both her father and Mahavir Phogat had been present at the tournament.
Mahavir Phogat’s life and the story of how he trained daughters Geeta and Babita inspired the 2016 Aamir Khan blockbuster “Dangal“.
Geeta Phogat won India’s first-ever gold medal in wrestling at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and became the first Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics in 2012.
Her sister Babita won silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a bronze at the 2012 World Wrestling Championships and a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.