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Vinesh wins gold Two years after horrible injury, Haryana wrestler shines

August 22, 2018 08:29 AM

COURSTEY THE TRIBUNE AUG 21

Vinesh wins gold
Two years after horrible injury, Haryana wrestler shines

Two years after horrible injury, Haryana wrestler shinesIn the movie Dangal, Vinesh was the ‘other’ Phogat, cousin of Geeta and Babita, and did not have a stellar role in the script — that’s understandable because the focus of the script was on the training and early successes of Geeta and Babita Phogat. However, Vinesh, 23, has now become the greatest of the wrestling Phogats and her story can carry a movie on its own. Vinesh romped to the gold medal in the 50kg freestyle category in the Asian Games in Jakarta on Monday, improving on the bronze she had won four years ago at the Incheon Asiad. She becomes the first Indian woman to win gold medals at both the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games — she has two gold at CWG, won in Glasgow in 2014 and Gold Coast this year.

 Vinesh, who suffered a serious injury two years ago, personifies the spirit of a true champion. At the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, Vinesh was fighting China’s Sun Yinan, a past world champion, in the quarterfinals. As the two fought, their legs got locked and Vinesh’s right knee got badly twisted — there was a horrible sound of crunching as the ligaments in her knee snapped. Vinesh was India’s best hope in wrestling at Rio, but she had to be carried off on a stretcher. The injury was so serious that it seemed likely that Vinesh would never wrestle again at the top level. 

 

Vinesh fought back like only sportspersons can, through months of rehabilitation. At the Gold Coast CWG, she easily won gold. But the big challenge was to win in the first bout in Jakarta facing Sun Yinan, against whom she’d injured her knee in Rio. Vinesh had lost three times to Sun Yinan in the past. Vinesh was not free of fear, but she beat it, crushing Sun 8-2. In the final, she faced Japan’s Yuki Irie, knowing fully well that no Indian woman had ever beaten a wrestler from Japan in the Asian Games. But Vinesh feared nothing and easily beat Yuki to take gold. Vinesh was in tears again, exactly two years and three days after the disaster at Rio. Two years of tears and pain and hard work ended in gold

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