Divya Kakran: From Dangal Queen to Asian Games Glory
Camera: Sanjoy Deb, Adi Prakash
Multimedia Producer: Puneet Bhatia
Footage courtesy: Deepak Ansuia, Prasad Bhardwaj
Can 18-year-old wrestler Divya Kakran fight misogyny, poverty and casteism to become India’s next Olympic hope?
When The Quint did a documentary on wrestler Divya Kakran in January 2017, this is the question we had asked. And now, Divya has truly proved herself in an international championship – she has won the bronze medal for India in wrestling in the 68 kg category. It looks like she’s well and truly on her way towards her ultimate goal, an Olympic medal. But that’s for a different day, for now Divya can bask in the glory of her Commonwealth medal, quite a feat for this girl who started by fighting against boys in dangals.
It was not easy for Divya to wrestle because she belongs to an oppressed caste. A few castes dominate wrestling and it’s difficult for other castes’ wrestlers to break into the scene. So Divya had to start by fighting with boys in dangals. There, she was the undisputed champion, beating boys one after another and earning the title of ‘India’s Dangal Queen.’
Divya has defeated her male opponents in over 23 dangals across the country so far. She has also represented India in several international competitions, including the Under-17 Asia Championships. She has a whopping 48 national and international medals to her name. And now finally the big one, bronze at the Commonwealth games.
Watch the full documentary for a peek into Divya’s journey as she battles one obstacle after another to become India’s Dangal Queen.
Additional reporting by Vatsala Singh.