When the Indian contingent met at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence, Vinesh Phogat told PTI news agency that she nearly quit wrestling after her disappointment at the Olympics. She also praised PM Modi for motivating her to do it all over again.
A knee injury in the quarterfinals dashed her hopes in 2016 Rio Olympics. Despite of World No. 1 ranking in her weight category, Vinesh again crashed out in quarterfinals stage of Tokyo Olympics. Vinesh said her last two disappointments brought her to the brink of quitting wrestling, long before she reinvented herself with a gold medal at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Vinesh told PTI that “Definitely, you can say that (Vinesh 2.0 reloaded). I have managed to cross a big mental barrier. I almost gave up wrestling because in 2 Olympics I couldn’t win a medal. Olympics is the biggest stage for any athlete. But my family always backed me, they always trust in my abilities.”
“When I was low, I met Modi ji (PM Narendra Modi) and he gave me motivation. He said ‘we trust you and you can do it’. That reignited the spark in me.”
Vinesh also added that the support she got from her family, friends and fans also kept her motivated to keep going.
“Since childhood I like sports. I always play from my heart, I don’t have any pressure from anyone. I feel happy when I win. I always have the passion to win. My family is always supportive of what I am doing,” -Star wrestler said.
“After you win everybody is behind you, but when you get the support after losing it matters a lot, and I have got that from my family, fans and well-wishers after Tokyo.” She said for any athlete nothing is bigger than getting rewards for hard work.
“The most important thing for an athlete is to replicate the thing on the mat which you did in training. I couldn’t do that in Tokyo and I am still very sad about it. But the hard work I have put in the last one year, the way I have managed myself, I wanted to prove myself. The support which I got from all quarters was also at the back of the mind, I can’t disappoint myself.”
“Some people whom I have never met, never knew them, they supported me, backed me, I just thought I have to rise again for them. They are the ones who has been backing my wresting career and I owe them everything.” – Vinesh said.