It took hardly five minutes for 18-year old female wrestler Neha Tomar to conquer male winner Nawab on Monday in front of a huge crowd that cheered the Dehradun girl all the way. Neha, who loves to take on male wrestlers, had first made waves by conquering on another winner two years ago.
Locals have now begun calling her the real 'Sultan' of the ring.
Monday's bout was the second time featuring a female and male wrestler at Jogi Nawada locality, known for clashes between champs. The first time was in 2014 when Neha had taken on and beaten Sonu Pehalwan from Rudrapur in Uttarakhand.
"On Sunday, during the continuing wrestling competition here, Neha stepped up and challenged all the male wrestlers to a fight. The bunch first went totally silent for several minutes, and then welcomed her with a massive round of applause," said Suresh Rathore, president of Shri Ramlila Parishad Jogi Nawada, the committee which organizes wrestling contests here every year during Ramlila.
Simply her challenge was taken by Nawab. Women wrestlers have gradually made their mark here.
"We have already been holding wrestling bouts since 1972. Women's wrestling started 12 years ago, but Neha was the first ever to challenge the guys," Rather included.
The fight generated substantial interest among the 4,000-strong crowd that had gathered around the elevated sand stadium, with scores of people climbing to the terraces of nearby houses to watch Neha take on Nawab.
Neha stands 5 feet tall while Nawab is six inches taller — but they weigh 58 kg each. As the 18-year-old slowly won over Nawab, the crowd, mostly men, started encouraging for 'Sultan Neha' and her art.
After her win, male and female wrestlers were challenged by her to a fight. This time around, Haroon from Delhi accepted it. The fight is scheduled to occur the last day of the wrestling completion, on Tuesday.
Daughter of a farmer from Dhakrani village in Dehradun, Neha has not looked back and taken from your age of 11 to the ring. "Wrestling is my life. Therefore I cannot concentrate on studies.
"I have begun preparing for it. As wrestling bouts tend not to take place on the mat in Uttarakhand, I've been practicing in Haryana," she said. She also has to keep a watch on the large budget wrestlers need to have a proper diet.