Star wrestler and gold medallist in Asian and Commonwealth Games, Vinesh Phogat on Thursday became the first Indian ever – men or women – to be nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award. The category Vinesh is nominated in is “Laureus World Sporting Comeback” for the year 2019. The other competitions for the award are golf great Tiger Woods, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, American alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Manyu, and Dutch para-snowboarding star Bibian Mentel-Spee.
— Laureus (@LaureusSport) January 17, 2019
The Year So Far
The year 2018 was the young wrestler’s year. She clinched the gold medal in the 50 kg freestyle at the Asian Games in Jakarta and become the first Indian woman wrestler to do so. Avenging a heartbreaking loss at the Olympics two years ago, she also won gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, a silver in the 2018 Asian Championships in Bishkek.
Before heading off to the Asian Games, she bagged gold at the Spanish Grand Prix in Madrid in July. Vinesh won the gold medal in the women’s freestyle 50 kg category and dominated the stage, conceding just one point in five bouts.
Olympics Failure & Comeback
In 2016, a 21-year-old Vinesh from Haryana was one of the favourites to win a medal for India at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But the youngest from a family of distinguished women wrestlers had met with a life-threatening knee injury which forced her tournament to an end in the quarterfinals. After rigorous and steady hard work she came back badass and knocked down opponents.
Vinesh has won many wrestling accolades. These include winning silver at the Commonwealth wrestling championship held at Johannesburg, South Africa and a gold medal in the women’s freestyle 48 kg category at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. A bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games and Silver medal at 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships are her other achievements so far.
Picture credit: TOI