With her cousins Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, being international wrestlers and Commonwealth Games medalists as well, India is celebrating a ‘new fighting spirit’ with wrestler Vinesh Phogat. Now, coming from a successful family of wrestlers, she is the first Indian woman wrestler to win Gold in both Commonwealth and Asian games.
A world championships bronze medallist in 2019, she was the first Indian woman to win gold at both the Commonwealth and Asian Games. For many of today’s young hopefuls her story is an inspiration, the latest among a growing number.
The 26-year-old, who comes from a small village in the northern state of Haryana (who has markedly fewer females than males), had an upbringing that was very different. Her uncle decided that all the family's daughters should take up wrestling - which attracted opposition and controversy.
Phogat recalls: "All hell broke loose in the village when my uncle starting training us girls in the early 2000s. People called him and us names. My sisters and I all had short cropped hair and so we would wear shorts in the village and practise.
"Ladies would come up to my mother and say 'tell your daughter to at least cover her legs'. My mother would also feel ashamed, but we fought back collectively. And the international medals proved everyone wrong."
Back then, only two decades ago, there were far fewer icons to watch out for. Now she is one of many modern figures showcasing the rising spirit of Indian sportswomen.
Phogat was six-years-old when she watched on TV as Karnam Malleswari won India's first Olympic medal in female competition: a weightlifting bronze at the Sydney Olympics. “The date is still etched in my memory too” she says, as it became a watershed moment for women's sport in India.
Since then four more Indian women have claimed Olympic success; boxer Mary Kom, wrestler Sakshi Malik, and badminton stars Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu.
It is a serious scene of concentration but there can be no doubt - something very uplifting is taking place in Indian sport.