Newly-crowned Asian champion Navjot Kaur feels that the unique honour of being the first woman wrestler from the country to win a gold medal in the continental event has compensated for the time she lost due to injuries.
Navjot, whose last notable performance was a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games in 2014, remained out of action for more than two years due to a slip disc issue.
The hunger for international success prompted her to fight back.
“In 2015, I had a slip disc problem. The back injury forced me to stay out of training for a long time. The whole of 2016 was spent in rehab. I lost out on some crucial time, but this medal has made up for it. Now I will try to achieve bigger success,” Navjot, who has previously bagged Asian silver and bronze medals, told Sportstar after claiming the 65kg title in the Asian championships in Bishkek.
Navjot, a wrestling World Cup bronze medallist, said even though only six wrestlers were in the fray in 65kg, her journey to the gold medal was not easy. “It was equally tough. It does not matter whether there are six or 10 wrestlers in a weight category. I had to fight four bouts. The number of bouts remains more or less the same in a championship. I came here to give my best.”
The 28-year-old from Tarn Taran, Punjab, said her family and coaches played an important role in her progress. “My parents, younger brother and elder sister support me whether I do well or not. Initially, I did not like wrestling. I was afraid of the sport because of the way they smack you down with so much force.
"My sister Navjit Kaur, a National junior silver medallist who quit wrestling due to a knee injury, urged me to take up the sport and achieve what she could not. After that, I became more serious about wrestling.
“My childhood coach Ashok Kumar and the National coaches, including Kuldeep Malik, Sahil Sharma and others, have always backed me and have contributed to my success.”
Navjot, who lost the Commonwealth Games trials for 68kg, looked forward to future events. “Whatever God gives is good for me...Now I will prepare to do well in the Asian Games and the Olympics,” she said.