The Haryana government has appointed international wrestler Babita Phogat and Kabaddi player Kavita Devi as deputy directors in its Sports and Youth Affairs Department. In two separate orders issued on July 29 by the principal secretary of the Haryana Government’s Sports and Youth Affairs Department, Babita and Kavita, who had applied to the state government for these posts, were appointed as deputy director (Sports) under the Haryana Outstanding Sportspersons (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) rules, 2018.
As per the orders, both have to join the department within a month. International wrestler Babita Phogat is the daughter of Mahavir Phogat, a noted wrestling coach.
The Phogats became a household name in the country after the success of Hindi film “Dangal’, which is based on the lives of Phogat sisters, all of them wrestlers, and their father who coached them against all odds.
Asked to comment on taking up the new role now, Commonwealth Games medallist Phogat said, “I take it as a responsibility which has been entrusted to me by the government”.
“Being a player, I will work to ensure that players get all the facilities they need, whether it is related to their practice or diet so that they can focus on their game and work,” Phogat told PTI.
Asked in what areas she feels there is scope for further improvement, Phogat said “no matter how much we do, there is always a scope for improving things. As a sports person, I do not want that our players should face the problems that we had to face, be it related to diet, coaches or players’ practice.”
Replying to a question, she said she was looking forward to working with Sports Minister Sandeep Singh, a former Indian hockey team captain.
“It is an advantage when you have a sportsperson heading the Sports Department in the state. He is more connected to things and knows things at ground level and how these can be improved. We will work together and take Haryana’s sports to new heights,” she added.
Phogat earlier worked as a sub-inspector in Haryana Police before resigning after she decided to join the BJP and later went on to unsuccessfully contest the 2019 assembly polls from Dadri assembly constituency in the state.
Kavita, is a Kabaddi player, a senior state government official said. She was member of the India national Kabaddi team that won gold medal in 2014 in the Incheon Asian Games.
The terms and conditions of their appointments include a bar on making commercial endorsements.