Vinesh worlds dream comes true after five years of toil

Vinesh Phogat became not only the first Indian wrestler to claim a berth in the Tokyo Games, but also the fifth woman from the country to bag a Worlds medal.

Because of her fabulous track record and consistent performance at elite events, Vinesh’s achievements in women’s 53kg might not surprise many.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Vinesh Phogat’s double delight after securing an Olympic quota and a maiden World championships medal in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday was the outcome of her sheer determination and would stand her in good stead in the 2020 Games.

Because of her fabulous track record and consistent performance at elite events, Vinesh’s achievements in women’s 53kg might not surprise many.

However, one could understand the essence of her success when one considers the tough draw – including Rio Olympics medallist Sofia Mattsson of Sweden, 55 kg World champion Muya Mukaida from Japan and World No.1 and Worlds silver medallist Sarah Hilderbrandt of the USA – she faced.

She became not only the first Indian wrestler to claim a berth in the Tokyo Games, but also the fifth woman from the country to bag a Worlds medal.

Vinesh, whose Olympics dream was shattered in 2016 when she injured her knee midway through a bout in Rio, banked on her resilience to make a strong comeback and bag her second Commonwealth Games gold and the Asian Games gold in 2018.

Proud moment

In the early part of 2019, Vinesh seemed vulnerable in certain aspects of her game in the Pro Wrestling League.

“I am going to participate in as many competitions as possible. Of course, winning is the first priority, but if I don't win then I would like to learn from my mistakes. Even the smallest change can help improve my game a lot,” Vinesh had told this reporter after PWL.

“I need to work on my speed as well as improving my lower attack.”

Vinesh secured gold medals in Grand Prix of Spain, Yasar Dogu event in Turkey and Poland Open.

In Nur-Sultan, one could witness significant improvement – quick counter-attacks and better defence – in Vinesh’s game.

“I am very happy to win a quota; got this medal after trying for five years. It’s a proud moment for me as I could do this for my country. I could achieve this after switching from 50kg to 53kg in about 10 months,” said Vinesh.

The 25-year-old, who joined her cousin sisters Geeta and Babita to form a unique family club of Worlds medalists, knows that she has got the potential to achieve greater heights and will rely on her grit and ambition to pursue that.