Despite her young age Komal from Uttar Pradesh in northern India has already faced a lifetime of discrimination. But she’s determined to use sport to show her strength, and is literally taking the fight for girls to get the same opportunity as boys into her own hand. Tackling the belief that girls are worth less than boys, she’s wrestling to the ground one of the root causes of violence against women and girls.
Right from childhood, girls like me are taught to accept that men and boys are superior to them. In my district we aren’t allowed to be educated like boys. Instead our role is to take care of younger siblings and household chores - training us for our main role, as a wife. Once married, most girls around here face domestic violence as we’re just not seen as equal.
I saw wrestling as an opportunity to continue my education and make my parents proud - and show my strength as a girl. I knew my family and I would face discrimination - but I think all girls should get the same opportunities to participate in sports as the boys.
Once I make a decision, no one can stop me - so with the support of my teacher, my parents let me compete and I won the silver medal in a state competition. I proved to my community that girls can succeed!
My mother especially is really proud. She hopes my future is full of more opportunities than she had. I believe the opportunity to study and participate in sport is something that every girl should be able to do.
Women and girls should have equal rights as other members in the family and society. Given the opportunity, we will prove our strength. Everyone should treat both male and female members equally - and I will continue to fight for this.