How Vinesh Phogat beat ‘nature’ and her own ‘demons’ to win a historic World Championships medal | More sports News

All attempts failed. The last time this author got in touch with Vinesh Phogat on the other side of a phone call was when she Belgrade airport to catch her flight home. “Woh shopping karne gayi hai (she went shopping),” said the trainer Jitender Yadav. The phone didn’t connect an hour later, the Whatsapp message showed up for just a tick. The coach got on the flight, so did the female wrestling team, including Vinesh, carried her second World Championship medal – India’s only female wrestler to do so.
Back home, after 24 hours of rest, the styling has not changed. Multiple attempts to pass Vinesh failed.
“She’s like that, doesn’t talk to 99% of the media,” said coach Yadav. Half nelson. Exploit. End of the match.
Last week, after a shock loss in his opening match in Belgrade to Mongolian Khulan Batkhuyag, Vinesh broke through the box. In wrestling, if an opponent has beaten you in the qualifying rounds to go to the final, you will be back active for the rematch rounds to find bronze medal.
Vinesh has similar hopes. Batkhuyag wrestled well and reached the final. Vinesh has come back to life.

“We had little doubt that the Mongols would make it to the final,” Vinesh’s coach, Yadav, told.
Vinesh is the favorite with 53kg of gold after the Japanese Akari Fujinami withdrew. But the challenges facing women in sport extend beyond competition and fear of injury.
In the process of losing weight before the tournament, on the way to Belgrade, Vinesh’s menstrual cycle began.
While it’s something that female athletes around the world deal with on a regular basis, dealing with menstrual cramps is never easy while preparing for a major tournament.
For Vinesh, the second medal at the World Championships means a lot. After a decade in the senior ring, before his opening match in Belgrade, Vinesh expressed his displeasure at having only one World Championship medal in 10 years.


(ANI photo)
But Coach Yadav noticed something during the training, which was not very good.
“During the warm-up, if a player is healthy and fully recovered, his/her face will be red, it shines because of the fast circulation. But there is nothing like that on Vinesh’s face during the warm-up. during warm-up before the tournament starts. Her face is yellow. It only happens when you haven’t fully recovered,” Yadav said.
It was expected, though.
Besides a period of natural phenomena, Vinesh is also trying to lose weight. She was 3 kg overweight about 48 hours before weighing. To lose that extra kilo, she almost always goes on an empty stomach. In the end, she was just under 53kg.
But the menstrual cycle combined with the weight loss regime has affected Vinesh’s body, which, perhaps, she is not quite ready for the opening match.
Coach Yadav said it’s not taboo for female athletes to reveal when to start their periods with male coaches because they have to work very closely together. They discuss their problems openly.
“It’s not hidden because we have to work together. It’s natural. The players Sab khul ke bolte hain (the players talk about it openly),” Yadav added. “Vinesh’s husband (Somvir Rathee) went to Belgrade the day before we landed there and helped her lose weight.”


(Photo: United World Wrestling)
Vinesh’s battle with trauma and her struggle to maintain her mental health began after her bad injury at the Rio Olympics and a long period of recovering from surgery.
But she returns bravely every time an unfortunate injury strikes, like the concussion she suffered in 2017 or elbow surgery shortly after last year’s Tokyo Olympics. The gold medal back at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and this historic World Championship bronze medal is testament to Vinesh’s determination.
But the Olympics remains an ‘unrivaled monster’ for Vinesh, especially after another medalless Olympics in Tokyo where she was eliminated in the quarterfinals, and it led to emotions. boom. She was even suspended from competing by the Indian Wrestling Federation but was later warned.
Since Vinesh is a gold medalist, her first loss in Belgrade at the World Championships got her targeted by many. Vinesh responded to his criticism after returning from the Belgrade World Championships, which remains an unsatisfactory outing for Indian wrestlers despite Vinesh and Bajrang Punia winning medals. copper.
“…for them (fans), it’s just a day in their life after watching a game. What they don’t realize is that these things can drag down a lot and affect their state of mind, heart and soul. athletes, especially in difficult times,” Vinesh posted in a message on Twitter after landing in India from Belgrade.

Coach Yadav said her mental battles really started after a painful loss from the Rio Olympics.
“The jaldi player is fit for ho jata hai physically, but psychologically it is very difficult to recover (physical recovery can be faster, but it takes time to recover when you are down)”, Yadav said
“After Tokyo, in Istanbul (ranked series Yasar Dogu), her form went down. She is not fit and is coming back from injury. But it is important to play, because we have to. plan the future (schedule) accordingly.”
“The most important thing here (in Belgrade) is that this (medal) is very important for her comeback. A CWG medal may be prestigious in the media but it’s not big in terms of size. wrestling level. good for the player’s mind and psyche,” added Yadav.
The medal, a second at the World Championships for Vinesh, a three-time CWG gold medalist, was finally awarded.
After two wins, against Zhuldyz Eshimova of Kazakhstan falling and against Leyla Gurbanova of Azerbaijan, who was injured, Vinesh found himself in a bronze medal match against fourth seed Jonna Malmgren of Sweden.
She brought her injured knee into the match against Malmgren and fought her opponent and spirit demons to wrestle like an evil fox, dodging the Swedes’ attacks and Surprise her with knock-out goals. The sudden explosions from Vinesh, just when Malmgren least expected them from the Indians, caused the Swedes to take a nap and give in.
Vinesh won 8-0.

A comeback medal, with a bit of luck after losing the opening match, was a monumental feat for Vinesh, who wasn’t one hundred per cent equal to hers throughout the tournament. Her bronze medal win should be celebrated. Not just for her own feat, but for all that she had to overcome to step up to the world championship podium for the second time.
Add to that all the consultations with neurologists recovering from the concussion she suffered in 2017, followed by battles with surgeries and mental breakdown, it’s a hellish journey for Vinesh, and she’s still decked out like no other female wrestler in the country.
Yadav told “It’s natural, when you’ve been chasing something for years, like an Olympic medal, and the whole focus is on that, when it doesn’t happen just because of that. one small mistake, it hurts.”
And then he repeated.
“Physically the jaldi player is suitable for ho jata two, but psychologically up aane mein time lagta two.”

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