Kavita Devi wants more female participation in WWE events

India’s first woman WWE wrestler was in city to promote company’s first Indian try-out

Kavita Devi, the 2016 Asian Games weightlifting gold medal winner, was dressed in a salwar kameez when she first tackled her wrestling opponent. She was visiting Continental Wrestling Academy, run by World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler The Great Khali, to watch a match.

“There was this lady who had won a round and was challenging everyone, saying no one could defeat her,” recalled Ms. Devi, who took up the challenge and pinned her to the ground. “This impressed Khali a lot and he suggested that I should fight in WWE,” the wrestler said.

A few representatives from the entertainment company were present at the venue and invited her to Dubai for a try-out.

Ms. Devi is the first Indian woman to fight in the WWE matches. In Mumbai to promote the first-ever Indian try-outs for WWE, which will be held in March 2019, Ms. Devi said she would like to encourage more women to come out and take part in WWE’s world-class events.

Ms. Devi, who is from Haryana, also competed in the inaugural Wrestle Mania Women’s battle royal match in April this year. Wrestle Mania is a showcase event of the WWE where wrestlers from their three divisions, Raw, Smackdown and NXT, participate in a fight.

Next year’s WWE try-outs in India will focus on recruiting athletes and enrolling them in a training programme. Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque, WWE executive vice-president (talent, live events and creative), said, “I am confident this latest talent try-out will result in a world-class pool of athletes ready to pursue their dream of becoming the next WWE Superstar from India.”

Inviting athletes from diverse sporting backgrounds like kushti, kabaddi, wrestling, American football, combat sports, cricket and bodybuilding, WWE plans to enrol up to 40 athletes to train at the entertainment company’s performance centre in Orlando, U.S.

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