May the best man win?

There was a magazine called “SKILL”, published in Britain, which was devoted to wrestling and strength. The magazine may have been stopped publishing sometime in the sixties, or perhaps the seventies. But as to that, information is sketchy.Hamida Banu

Nevertheless, in the mid-1950’s, there was much correspondence in the magazine, of a woman from North India, named Hamida Banu. It was said she was a princess, or at least a wealthy person, who was exceptionally skilled in the art of wrestling. 

One British gentleman had offered (then a huge sum) of 1,000 pounds for any definite information of her.

Eventually they found a photo of her, showing a thickset woman with close cropped hair and wearing a kavach (chest-armour) embellished with numerous medals, presumably a medal for each of her memorable wins

It turns out that she had received numerous marriage proposals. And she knew the best way to refuse: “Beat me in wrestling to win my hand”. ST - Copy

Here is a clipping from the Sarasota herald tribune, May 3, 1954 that talked about her wrestling prowess.

In four months, she had already downed three male wrestlers, the last of whom announced his retirement after the match.

There is not much news about Hamida thereafter; One hopes she found her partner in life. Maybe not while locking shoulders on the wrestling mat – maybe she consented to someone who appealed to her heart in a manner less vigorous.

For those who have any further information on Hamida Banu, please share!


I would like to thank Tony D for sharing the story with me!

3 thoughts on “May the best man win?”

  1. I remember reading something similar except this was from a village in India where one particular woman used to wrestle with her suitors in front of the whole village. If they won she would marry them. when the article was printed she was undefeated.


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