Wrestler Vinesh Phogat says remaining injury-free is the largest problem for her forward of Tokyo Olympics

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Bhubaneshwar: The picture of a tearful Vinesh Phogat writhing on the mat has left an indelible mark on those that watched her 48kg quarter-final bout on the Rio Olympics in 2016. Sakshi Malik would later change into the primary girl wrestler from the nation to win an Olympic medal, however the enduring picture from the Carioca Area stays that of India’s real medal prospect being stretched out with a strapped knee.

Two years is a very long time in worldwide sport. Vinesh absolutely has moved on from that fateful bout in opposition to China’s Yanan Solar, however the scars have given her a bigger perspective in life. She now not will get flustered with accidents and even laughs off niggles with the all-knowing scorn.

File picture of Vinesh Phogat. Picture courtesy: Twitter @Phogat_Vinesh

“That damage taught me so much. The comeback was not simple, however as soon as I did return, I realised it has solely made me stronger. Now, even when I get injured, I merely smile and inform myself that I’ve seen worse days. This stuff do not have an effect on me,” she mentioned.

Accidents are a part of elite wrestling and Vinesh’s focus within the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 is to plot methods to keep away from them.

“Sure, to stay injury-free will likely be my greatest problem. It is tough as a result of wrestling is a sport the place you possibly can decide an damage anytime. You put together nicely all yr, however all of a sudden one damage pops up and ends the whole lot. I’ll sit with my coach and we are going to put together a method to minimise the possibilities of catching a niggle or an damage. I’ve missed some main occasions to accidents, and the sensation is just not good. When you exit after shedding a bout, it is a totally different matter, however shedding to accidents hurts you,” she informed Firstpost on the recently-concluded Ekamra Sports activities Literary Pageant right here.

Put up her Rio catastrophe, Vinesh accomplished a golden double on the Commonwealth Game and Asian Game earlier this yr and was billed as a medal prospect on the World Championships in Budapest. She, nonetheless, could not make it to the competitors owing to a torn ligament in her elbow, an damage she sustained on the nationwide camp in Lucknow lower than a month earlier than the occasion.

“At occasions, it’s robust to consider that damage has ended your possibilities. Typically, I get offended at myself for not having the ability to stop one, however as I mentioned, I play a sport the place such issues are simply not far away,” she added, reflecting on her unlucky knack to select accidents.

The Haryana wrestler insists there’s nothing amiss in her coaching strategies, however identified that a greater weight administration might scale back dangers. Vinesh’s common body weight is 55-56kgs, and she or he has to shed the additional kilos to be eligible to compete within the 50kg class.

“The issue, I feel, is that I’ve to continuously shed some pounds to slot in the 50kg class. This season, I misplaced weight for the Professional Wrestling League, Asian Championships, for a match in Spain, after which for Commonwealth Game, so I feel that might be a purpose for my accidents.

“The norm in our nation is to all of a sudden carry the load down forward of tournaments. I’m trying ahead to maintain my weight to 51-52 kgs. That approach, I will not need to lose a lot forward of competitions and that may stop accidents. I’m working in direction of weight and damage administration with my Hungarian coach,” she defined.

Whereas shedding a mean of 5-6kgs earlier than an occasion is demanding, the ace wrestler does have a option to step as much as 53kg class. Vinesh, nonetheless, does not need to fiddle along with her weight class earlier than the Olympics.

“The considered shifting to 53 kg class has occurred to me, however I cannot take that threat forward of the Olympics. I’m conscious of the power and weaknesses of all my rivals in my weight class. I will not have the identical perception and confidence within the new weight class. However sure, after the 2020 Olympics, I’ll definitely look to maneuver to the upper weight class.

Other than damage and weight administration, one other space that the 24-year-old is engaged on is her velocity. Since her top prevents her to go low in her stance, velocity turns into paramount for her, extra so in a class the place wrestlers are at their quickest.

“I compete within the lowest weight class, so velocity is essential for me and I’m continuously working to get quicker on the mat. Additionally, I’m a bit tall (for my weight class), so in contrast to a number of the Japanese wrestlers who actually go very low, I’ve to depend on my velocity and higher physique power. I’ve to discover a approach to work round these items and put together a method to not let my top have an effect on my defence or velocity.

“My subsequent targets are the Asian and World Championships, and if I do nicely in these occasions, it would give me nice mileage going into the Olympic yr,” she concluded.

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