Geeta Phogat’s Cousin Ritika Dies by Suicide

Ritika was participating in the state-level sub-junior tournament where she lost the final on 14 March, by 1 point.

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Wrestling fans in India woke up to a rude shock on Thursday with news filtering about Ritika Phogat's alleged suicide.

17-year-old Ritika, cousin sister of wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat, reportedly took her own life after she allegedly lost a wrestling tournament final in Bharatpur on Wednesday.

Ritika was participating in the state-level sub-junior, junior women, and men wrestling tournament where she lost the final on 14 March, by 1 point.

"She too wanted to win a medal at the international level like her cousins but went into depression after losing the gold medal bout in the state meet," said the official.

After post-mortem, the body was handed over to her parents and last rites were performed at the family village near Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.

Ritika had been training at the academy run by her uncle and Dronacharya Awardee Mahavir Phogat, father of Geeta, Babita and mixed martial artist Ritu Phogat, near Charkhi Dadri in Haryana for the past five years.

Ritika was the daughter of Mahavir's brother-in-law, thus making her a maternal first cousin to Geeta, Babita and Ritu.

She had trained under Dronacharya Awardee Mahavir Singh Phogat, who was also reportedly present at the tournament. She was a student of the Mahavir Phogat Sports Academy. Mahavir Phogat was an amateur wrestler himself

Geeta and Babita had won gold and silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Geeta was the first female wrestler from India to win gold while Babita went on to win gold at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Their cousin Vinesh Phogat is the top ranked 53kg wrestler in the world and an Asian Games gold medallist. Vinesh is also a favourite to win a medal at this year's Tokyo Olympics.

Ritu won gold at the 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship before embarking on a career in mixed martial artist where she holds a 4-0 record in the ONE Championship.

The Phogat sisters and their father Mahavir shot to fame after Aamir Khan's 2016 film Dangal, which became the highest grossing Indian film of all time.

(If you feel suicidal or know someone in distress, please reach out to them with kindness and call these numbers of local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs.)

(With various inputs)

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