Khelo India Youth Games: Dreams Come True For School Bus Driver’s Daughter As She Wins Bronze; Read Story Of Wrestler Tannu

At 4.30 in the morning, Jagdish Gulia and his eight-year-old daughter Tannu were glued to television watching Indian women wrestling at the 2016 Rio Olympics. When Sakshi Malik turned the bout on its head in the dying seconds to secure bronze, both Jagdish and Tannu embraced each other in celebration. It was at this moment when Jagdish, a school bus driver in Haryana, decided that Tannu would become a grappler. On the other hands, Tannu was even more excited thinking about the travelling opportunities she would be getting as an athlete.

She took one step closer to that dream when she won the bronze medal in the 65kg weight category at the Rajarathinam stadium on Tuesday. 

“My father would have been happy with gold, but it’s okay. Unlike the last edition where I was eliminated in the second round and returned empty-handed, this time I have something to show to my father,” said Tannu, who went about displaying her medal around the arena.

Usually, her father travels with her to most competitions, but this time his school did not sanction his leave so she was accompanied by her uncle Narendra and younger cousin sister Sakshi, who could not win a medal.

Tannu has so far won four medals, including the bronze medal here. She bagged the Under-19 School Games gold in 2023; bronze at Under-17 Cadet Ranking Series in 2022 and Under-14 School National Games in 2019.

“In the next Khelo India Youth Games you will see me take the gold. I will leave no stone unturned and work hard from here on. The opportunity and medal at Khelo India Youth Games has pumped me up enough. I know I deserve bigger and better,” Tannu added. 

She said her father, despite his low earnings, has done everything to look after wrestler’s diet. “He feeds me everything to keep me strong. My uncle has even bought a buffalo so that there is no shortage of milk and ghee,” she revealed.