A feeling of emptiness seeped inside Vinesh Phogat’s heart after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the deferment of Tokyo Games on Tuesday. Her emotional-state is understandable as for past five-years every time Vinesh closed her eyes all she dreamt of was the Olympics. But with the outbreak of Coronavirus, her ambition has been delayed by one year.
“I maintain a diary in which I write everything – my weekly plans, thoughts on my training, dreams, ambitions – I was in the zone,” she told Indian Express.
“I had just begun my training when my phone started buzzing. I did not look at it because I knew what it was about. And then when my physio broke the news of postponement, I packed up and went home. Khalipan sa ho gaya (there is a feeling of emptiness.),” she added.
Any build-up, confidence and momentum has come to a standstill for Vinesh after learning the latest development. Disappointed, the 25-year-old believes that she just lost something precious to her.
“Everything has to be started all over again. All the hard work and training I had been doing has gone out of the window. Every day when I woke up, I had a purpose as I knew that the Olympics was approaching. But when I heard the news, it felt like I was a child and someone had just snatched something away from my hand,” she told ESPN.
“Normally I try to avoid negative thoughts. But when I heard on TV the possibility of the Olympics getting cancelled, I was taken aback. My mind just went numb. I laid on my bed for 15 minutes. It was at that moment when I thought ‘should I even go and train?’ Then I forced myself to get up,” she added.
Vinesh, however, had never lost hope of things getting better. Every day she prayed for the situation to improve and that the Summer Games will be held as scheduled. But deep inside she knew that it was unlikely for things to normalize given the current scenario.
“Every day I told myself things will get better but somewhere I knew these are challenging times for everyone. In that sense, the decision is understandable and I appreciate it. I had the privilege of training but there are so many who have not been able to train due to Coronavirus pandemic in their country,” Indian Express quoted Vinesh.
“Also, the athletes who are yet to qualify, they are under so much stress. So, it is good they will now have time to restart training and aim for the ultimate glory,” she added.
Vinesh has already qualified for the Olympics after her medal-winning performance at the 2019 World Championships. But with the pandemic in India, she has been training in a school in Kharkhoda village, Haryana. She has been training with her sister Priyanka after her coach Woller Akos left for Hungary last week to be with his family.
The Olympics have been postponed until 2021 Summers. A new date for the Toyo-bound extravaganza has not yet been announced but the IOC said in a statement that it will be rescheduled to a date not later than summer 2021.