The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) handed a temporary suspension to grappler Vinesh Phogat over her behaviour at the Tokyo Olympics and also issued notice to young Sonam Malik for misconduct. The grappler had travelled to Tokyo from Hungary where she was training with coach Woller Akos. Upon arriving, she refused to stay at the Games Village and train with the other Indian team members. The 2018 Asian Games gold medallist has now finally spoken out about this suspension handed down by the wrestling federation.
“I feel like I am sleeping in a dream and nothing has even begun. I am blank. I don’t know what is happening in life. For the last one week, so much has been going on inside me. It’s a story of two hearts, two minds. I have given everything to wrestling and now is the right time to leave,” Vinesh was quoted as saying by Indian Express newspaper.
The WFI is now awaiting a reply from the grappler and a further course of action will be decided then. Vinesh also did not wear the name of the official sponsors of the Indian contingent, Shiv Naresh, and chose to wear a Nike singlet during her bouts.
“Forget wrestling, let a person be normal. Fellow athletes don’t ask you what went wrong, they tell you what I did wrong. I am shocked that they form their own perspective. At least ask me what happened to me on the mat,” Vinesh said.
“I was reducing weight. I was my own physio and I was the wrestler. I was assigned a physio from the shooting team. She did not understand my body. My sport has very specific demands. She couldn’t help me with what my regular physio used to. Last day, when I am reducing weight, am I supposed to explain things to her on how things are done in wrestling, or focus on myself? It’s unfair on both of us,” Vinesh says, explaining her point of view.
The wrestler went on to add that since she tested positive for COVID-19 last year, she has trouble digesting protein. “Since I got COVID first time (August 2020), I can’t digest protein. One year and I have had no protein in my body. It doesn’t stay inside. When I came back from Kazakhstan after Asian Championships, I fell ill again. I was tested positive COVID for the second time which I contacted in Almaty. I recovered and flew to Bulgaria. A few days later, my family back home tested positive,” Vinesh revealed.
Vinesh was in depression after changing weights
The wrestler revealed that she went through a bout of depression after changing her weight category in 2019. “When in 2019 I changed weight, I was diagnosed with depression for three months. I came back to Lucknow, it became worse. If a coach even spoke in a slightly high tone, I would start crying. As an athlete, the mental pressure is so much that we are always on that thin line. When it crosses, we are done.
“We celebrate Simone Biles as she said that I am not mentally prepared to perform at the Olympics and did not do her event. Try just saying that in India. Forget pulling out of wrestling, just try saying that you are not ready,” the 2019 world championship bronze medallist said.
Vinesh went on to say that she is not sure if she will ever return to the mat now.