Vinesh Phogat: ‘New weight category has made the biggest difference’

On Twitter, the 25-year-old Indian grapper reflects on a “pretty great” 2019.

Vinesh Phogat decided to move up to the 53-kg category in March, 2019.   -  AP

A change of weight category has been a welcome change for Indian grappler Vinesh Phogat.

On Twitter, Vinesh reflected on a “pretty great” 2019 and listed some of the highlights for her from the year.

“2019 was a year filled with emotions some bitter, some sweet! Started off the year with a lot of anger, frustration and fear inside of me. I had a new full-time coach, a whole new practice regimen, and most importantly a completely new weight category!” Vinesh tweeted.

‘Huge changes’

In the Olympics in 2016, Vinesh reached the quarterfinals and lost to Sun Yanan of China owing to a knee injury. She was stretchered off the mat midway during her quarterfinal bout. Since then, she has changed her weight category twice.

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In March 2019, Vinesh decided to move up to the 53-kg category with an eye on avoiding injuries. “Now that I think of it, this new weight category made the biggest difference and finally helped me achieve something that I had pursued for a long time, a World Championship medal! Chasing that medal brought in huge changes,” she said.

New frontiers

“I changed the way I trained, the way I ate, and how I recovered!!! I explored new countries, wandered round new cities and had a tonne of fabulous new experiences. Looking back, 2019 turned out pretty great!”

 

“2020 comes with a lot of promise with the fact that I am competing at my second Olympic Games taking it to a whole new level! Thank you 2019 for all the wonderful and not so wonderful moments that taught me so much! Wishing all of you a very happy new year!!!”

“2020 is gonna be special,” she added.

India’s best hope

The 25-year-old underlined her potential with a bronze medal in the World Wrestling Championships. That made her the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. She also became the first Indian woman wrestler to make the cut through Worlds, a feat which only strengthens her stakes for Tokyo.

With Sakshi Malik struggling, Vinesh will be India’s best hope for glory in the Olympics.