Pooja Dhanda was on top of her prowess at the latest edition of the Pro Wrestling League, a franchise based wrestling competition which features some of the best wrestlers from across the world. At the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast when Dhanda steps on the mat she will undoubtedly be one of the favourites to bag gold. Not many would find themselves familiar with the name right now but that might not be the case when the CWG 2018 concludes. The Haryana born is made of astounding grit and extraordinary hard work, someone with high ambitions and the willingness to never give up.
Dhanda who is a daughter of a tractor driver was since her childhood involved in sports and was always inclined towards wrestling. However, she was a fine judo player before taking up wrestling and thanks to the decision, she is currently one of India’s best hopes for a gold in women’s wrestling. Among the likes of Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, Pooja Dhanda will be weighing up her chances at Gold Coast courtesy of a phenomenal show at the Pro Wrestling Championships where she registered a massive upset by defeating defending Olympic champion and two-time world champion, Helen Maroulis while representing Punjab Royals.
She had also floored Olympic bronze medallist Odunayo Adekuoroye in the PWL and played an integral role in her franchise Punjab Royals’ title-winning campaign. All this after making a comeback after a career-threatening injury that had kept her away from the mat form almost close to a year. A tear to her anterior cruciate ligament saw her undergo two surgeries before she could return back into action but Dhanda made a sensational return and will be hoping to get the best out her debut appearance at the CWG.
Dhanda who booked her spot in the Indian contingent for the 2018 Commonwealth Games by defeating star Geeta Phogat will be hoping for a medal finish in her maiden season and she has got what it takes to beat the best in the lot. In the female 57 kg category, Pooja Dhanda will shoulder India’s hopes of a gold medal. However, she is already eyeing the 2020 Olympics and says that the Commonwealth will be a perfect platform for her to test her mettle. “The Commonwealth Games are important, but my target will be the 2020 Olympics,” she had told ESPN. Can Dhanda make it to the top podium at Gold Coast, remains to be seen?