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Photographer Captures Young Girls Defying The Odds As Athletes

Wrestling, soccer, and field hockey are fueling a sports revolution

Young girls and women in a poor and patriarchal state in India are going against all odds to pursue sports and excelling at it, despite little to no support or infrastructure. Haryana, which is nearly 125 miles from Delhi, is a state with the worst sex ratio—the ratio of males to females—where female infanticide and other crimes against women are common. But, young girls from Haryana have been winning at the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games, and others and there is a quiet sports revolution changing attitudes toward women in this state.

Photographer Karen Dias is documenting this uprising of female athletes—from the former child bride who was married off at 9 years of age and is now an international wrestler to the soccer field built over a graveyard where 120 girls now play soccer. Her work is a powerful look at a region where female athletes are using sports to reshape their society.

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