Simran’s Youth Olympic Games silver medal is a story of making right choices at right time. For a girl in her early teens, the experience of shooting for the movie with Salman Khan and option of being a part of the Aamir Khan-starrer wrestling blockbuster Dangal would be a bigger attraction than the strong drive to be at the real life akhara every morning for strenuous training sessions.
For a girl entering her teens, a badminton court or a gymnastics arena would be the place of choice than suffering bruises in a mud akhara. But the Delhi girl Simran made the tougher choice – real over reel to pursue her goals in wrestling, hardships of an akhara than the sporting glam quotient of badminton and gymnastics.
At just 16, she stands tall as a silver medallist at the Youth Olympic Games. The world is under her feet. In Sultan, she has played one of the Anushka Sharma trainees. She quit Dangal after ten days of shooting to compete in the Asian Cadet Championships. Short term goals were aplenty to shoot the movie where she would also get ₹10,000 a day for each schedule, but Simran had a vision for future, sights set on the goal and determination to earn laurels in real life than on the silver screen.
Then just 14-year-year-old, Simran would worry about her training even when she was shooting for Dangal in Haryana. After ten days of shooting, she quit the movie in favour of a World Cadet Championships.
Today Simran is only the third Indian wrestler to win a Youth Olympic Games medal. Trained by her father and former national-level wrestler Rajesh Ahlawat, Simran is disappointed on losing the Youth Olympic Games 43 kg final to the Emily Shilson of the United States. It was a match she could have won but for her own mistakes, confesses Simran.
Simran had the maturity to leave a film like Dangal after ten days of shooting and a vision to do something bigger and better. “Jab Sultan movie ke liye audition diya tha, toh bhi Simran kehti thi, ‘asli movie to abhi ani hai’. Aur aaj ka medal jeet ke usne apni khud ki movie ki kahani likh di,” her father Ahlawat has told Indian Express.
“Her coach, Ricky Sihag died of a heart attack during training last year and this medal is also a tribute to him,” says the proud father, who had to brave financial challenges to support Simran’s career growth.
Simran had to quit badminton because coaches at the Ludlow Castle School in Delhi won’t let the father watch her training. There were objections from friends and family as the father started taking the daughter to akhara for the wrestling coaching, where he would also train himself. “Sometimes, we would not get training partners and I would pay small amounts of money to local male wrestlers to train with her. She would train for more than 4-5 hours in a day and I would spend close to Rs 400-500 paying to the boys. We have eight acres of farm in our village and my younger brother manages it. A good harvest means we earn close to three lakh annually for the two families and sometimes, I had to borrow money from relatives,” Ahlawat told the Indian Express.
But then as the saying goes, life is all about the choices we make. Simran and her father made the right choice at the right time. The silver at the World Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires is just an indicator for the bigger laurels to follow.