Such people are rare who stay away from media glare and glamour even after being picked for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Vinesh Phogat is one such rare and talented sporting figure who was sweating it out in an arena of remote Kharkhoda of Sonipat despite being awarded Khel Ratna.
When she reached home after practice, she called back this correspondent after seeing his missed call on her mobile. Talking exclusively to The Daily Guardian, Vinesh Phogat expressed her happiness and said: “I worked very hard over the last few years and now my responsibilities have grown manifold after getting the highest sporting honour. Now, I will have to honour this award, it is an added responsibility. I will have to do much better than whatever I have done so far,” Vinesh said.
You mean Olympic medal? On this she laughs, and says, “Yes, I have already won gold medals in the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. I have also qualified for the Olympics by winning the world championship medal at Kazakhstan. Now, it is over to the Olympics where I have to convert my hard work into a medal.”
When asked as to whom she gives credit for her successful journey so far, Vinesh Phogat says that everybody has some contribution in what she is today. “My family, the federation, camp, akhara, coach and Pro Sportify, all have their contribution towards my careers,” she says.
On her husband’s role in her career, Vinesh says: “Without his support nothing would have been possible. After marriage, his cooperation helped me grow further.”
Her husband Somvir is a wrestler of Greco-Roman style. Vinesh says that due to Covid19- induced lockdown her practice was badly affected for one and a half months. But later she decided to face the challenges and difficulties to focus on her mission. There are so many boys in Kharkhoda who work as sparing partner for her. She says she doesn’t face any problem because of lack of partner in the training. She says she is getting home-cooked food, proper time for wrestling, gym and mat facility, and above all husband’s company. Everything is favourable here, she says.
In the past, Vinesh had raised questions over organising national camps. About this, she said that she had contracted infection two years ago. She even carries water from home to avoid problems. “I try that everything goes according to her plan, but certain problems do occur,” says Vinesh.
She says that the possibility of anyone contracting coronavirus infection could not be ruled out during Lucknow camp. My training would get affected there. “I don’t compromise with my training,” she says. So when I pointed it out, it was dubbed as my protest, she said. In fact, I did not oppose anyone, I just put up what I felt, she adds.
Vinesh Phogat had been honoured as the best wrestler in PWL Season 1. She got defeated twice at the hands of Chinese wrestler Sun Yanan in the same league. But this experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise for her. It so happened that she defeated Yanan in the first round of Asian Games and settled the scores with her. That’s how she paved the way for winning the gold medal as well. In PWL, Vinesh has played for Dilli Veer, UP Dangal and Mumbai Maharathi. As an advisor, this correspondent had advised the team to select Vinesh. In a message to the youth wrestlers, Vinesh says that they should work hard and believe in themselves. She says that those who are in the sporting field should also believe in themselves and work hard.