Some Lesser Known Facts About Pooja Dhanda
- Pooja Dhanda is an Indian freestyle wrestler. In 2018, she won a bronze medal in the 57 kg category at the World Championship. She has also been bestowed with ‘Bharat Kesari’ four times. Amar Ujala
- She grew up in Budana Village in Narnaund, Hisar, Haryana, India.
- In 2004, she started training in judo and wrestling at Hisar’s Mahavir Stadium from coach Subash Chander Soni. In Judo, she has won four gold medals in junior nationals. In 2007, she won a bronze medal at Asian Cadet Judo Championship.
- In 2008, she participated in Asian Cadet Judo Championship and won a gold medal.
- During a national camp in Aurangabad, she met Kripa Shankar Patel Bishnoi, who suggested that she focus either on judo or wrestling and not both and told her that her physique was more suitable for wrestling than wrestling judo. Pooja accepted his suggestion and decided to choose wrestling. In an interview, she talked about this and said,
Since childhood, I wanted to be a wrestler but because of my age, I joined judo in 2007 and won medals for the country. But later when I was 16-year-old, I was advised to opt one sport and I joined wrestling.” India Today
- In 2010, she won a silver medal at Summer Youth Olympics held in Singapore.
- In 2013, she won a gold medal at Senior Wrestling Nationals. In the same year, she participated in World Wrestling Championship; however, she was out after the first round.
- In 2014, she won a bronze medal in Asian Wrestling Championships.
- In 2015, she got injured while training at the Sports Authority of India Centre in Lucknow following which she could not compete in wrestling competitions for two years. In 2016, she recovered after two surgeries.
- In 2016, she was offered to play the role of Babita Phogat in Aamir Khan‘s film Dangal; however, she could not get the role owing to her knee injury. In an interview, she talked about this and said,
It was alright being an actor (in the Dangal casting trials). But I prefer writing my own story.”
- In 2017, she won a bronze medal in the 58 kg category at Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Championships.
- In 2018, she won a silver medal at Commonwealth Games. Before Pooja, Alka Tomar (2006), Geeta (2012), and Babita Phogat (2012) won bronze for India at Commonwealth Games.
- In 2018, she participated in the Pro Wrestling League in which she defeated the world and Olympic champion Helen Maroulis. In an interview, Pooja recalled this match and said,
After the final match, Helen told me ‘I am your fan now’. I was over the moon. I have always admired Helen for her wrestling and beating her twice was a dream come true,”
- Many prominent personalities including Prime Minister Narendra Modi often praise Divya for her accomplishments.