In a shocking news for Indian wrestling fans, 17-year-old wrestler Ritika Phogat died by suicide. The cousin sister of Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat took the drastic step after she allegedly lost a wrestling tournament on Wednesday.

Ram Singh Bishnoi, Deputy Superintendent of Police was quoted by ANI saying, “Ritika, wrestler and cousin of Babita Phogat, died allegedly by suicide on March 17. The reason behind it might have been her defeat at a recent wrestling tournament in Rajasthan. Investigations are underway.”

Ritika Phogat was part of the famous Phogat family who had in past proved its mettle in the field of wrestling. Ritika was playing the state-level sub-junior, junior women and men’s wrestling tournament. However, after losing the final on March 14 by just 1 point, the teenager took the harrowing step of hanging herself to death, allegedly due to not being able to bear the loss that she faced.

Ritika was a resident at a small village in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu called Jaitpur. Over the years, she had been learning and practicing wrestling at the famous Mahavir Phogat Sports Academy established in Haryana. As per the reports, for the final of the tournament mentioned above, Ritika was accompanied by her coach, Mahavir Singh Phogat. Mahavir’s shot to fame was the 2016 film Dangal where his character was brought to life on the screen by the perfectionist of Bollywood, Aamir Khan. The Dronacharya Award recipient’s story of how he trained his daughters Geeta and Babita inspired the film.

Both Geeta and Babita Phogat made their mark in the sport of wrestling during their time. Geeta ended up winning India’s first ever Gold Medal in 2010 Commonwealth Games and was also the first Indian female wrestler to Qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Meanwhile, Babita Phogat also got a Silver Medal to her name at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, a bronze at the World Wrestling Championship in 2012 and a shiny Gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Although one can’t allege as to what made their cousin sister take such a drastic step, it is sadly understandable how competitiveness and performance-based-disappointment could have pushed the 17-year-old to take her life.

Ritika’s death was first confirmed by Vijay Kumar Singh, Minister of State for Road and Transport and Highways. Singh took to Twitter and shared her grief as he wrote:

“Terrible news that we lost #RitikaPhogat who had a brilliant career ahead. The world has changed from where it was some decades ago. Athletes are facing pressures which were not there earlier. An essential part of their training should be to deal with these pressures.”

Indian wrestling fans woke up to the shocking news of Ritika Phogat’s passing and flocked over to Twitter to give their condolences to the family of Ritika. Some of these netizens also wrote about how important it is for one to stay strong during disappointing failures.

Although the arena of sports person may be filled with glamour, fame and money, all that glitters there is certainly not gold. People find their calling and devote their lives into the pursuit of their sport. While some are rewarded, others due to fate, timing and other factors, are forced to leave the green grounds empty handed. This triggers depression, isolation and even thoughts of taking one’s life.

In 2019, an 18-year-old athlete from Delhi committed suicide by hanging himself from fan in his hostel at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The athlete had already represented India at an International level and aspired to represent his country in the Olympics. So much so that he had even got the Olympic tattoo tattooed on his right hand.

In 2020, a 27-year-old cricketer from Mumbai, who allegedly was suffering from depression, also committed suicide. According to reports, Karan Tiwari who bowled in the Mumbai Ranji Trophy nets took the decision as he was upset for not making it into the Indian Premier League (IPL).

If you need support or know someone who wants support, we strongly suggest you to reach your nearest mental health practitioner or call the helplines given below.


Vandrevala Foundation for Mental Health            1860-2662-345 or

TISS iCall                                                                          022-25521111 (Monday-Saturday: 8 am to 10 pm)


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