‘I’m blessed with a strong mind’

Vinesh Phogat. PTI

The Phogat story has another chapter now, thanks to Vinesh, the cousin of the famous Gita and Babita.

The story of Mahaveer Phogat and his daughters has been made famous by the movie Dangal but the tale of his niece will be no less inspiring, thanks to her stupendous comeback win at the Asian Games.

The rugged lady from Haryana revealed her mental toughness with her gold medal victory on Monday and declared that there isn’t anything she cannot do.

“I don’t think there is anything I can’t do. If others can, I can too,” said Vinesh after beating Japan’s Yuki Irie for the gold in the 50kg class. “I have been mentally strong since childhood. Yes, I am rough and tough and I like taking risks in life. Yes, I have lot of self confidence,” she said.

That confidence and mental toughness stood her in good stead when she had to undergo surgery on her right knee after the Rio Olympic Games. Lesser mortals would have opted to simply fade away.

“Injuries are a part and parcel but to overcome it is a big challenge,” said Vinesh. “I faced a few difficulties emotionally and physically. But as someone said, an athlete becomes stronger once she overcomes an injury. I think I have become stronger after my injury and have learnt a lot from that period.”

The 24-year-old said an advice from the legendary Sushil Kumar had kept her on the right path. “He once told me, ‘don’t be upset if you don’t win a medal. There is always something better in store’. Those words have stayed with me since then.”

Rio jitters

Memories of her Rio injury might have comeback when she drew China’s Sun Yanan first-up. It was in the quarterfinal against Yanan that she suffered the injury. “There was pressure — it wasn’t that I am not stronger than her. I was strong but I had to prove it,” said Vinesh and stressed the mind factor again.

“If you don’t have strong mind then everything is pointless…all our training, all preparation. Thankfully, I have been blessed with a strong mind.”

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