India’s strongest medal hope at the Olympics – ace wrestler Vinesh Phogat is distraught after learning that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 has been postponed by a year in the wake of novel Coronavirus outbreak. Reacting on the shift of the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza, Vinesh on Wednesday said the postponement of the Tokyo Games was her ‘worst fear’ and the extended wait is going to be tougher than competing at the Games. Also Read - Wrestling: Bajrang Punia Assured of Seeding at Tokyo Olympics, Claims No.2 Spot in Latest World Rankings
The Asian Games champion said she felt a feeling of emptiness as soon as she learnt about the news of postponement. In an unprecedented move, the 2020 Tokyo Games on Tuesday pushed to next year due to COVID-19 pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the world. Also Read - I See Myself Running at Tokyo Olympics: Record-Holding Marathon Runner Eliud Kipchoge
“This was every athlete’s worst fear and it has come true. Everybody knows that competing at the Olympics is the toughest test for an athlete but I believe waiting for an opportunity to be on that stage is tougher,” she said in statement on Twitter. Also Read - Hima Das Writes to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju For Access to Outdoor training at NIS Patiala
“I don’t really know what to say right now but inside me there is a roller-coaster of emotions,” the 25-year-old added.
The 25-year-old Phogat was training when she got the news of the Olympics being moved to 2021. This was the first time the Summer Games has been postponed during peacetime.
“I had just begun my training when my phone started buzzing,” Phogat said. “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 was quoted by The Indian Express.
Vinesh is India’s biggest medal hopes at the Rio Olympics before a freak injury cut short her Games during an earlier round. And she was preparing in earnest for Tokyo too, having qualified for the Games after finishing on the podium at last year’s world championships.
“This is a very crucial time for the world and the greater sporting fraternity. Though I am very deeply disappointed, it is more important than ever to see the silver lining in this dark cloud.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had faced growing calls to postpone the Games, with 1.7 billion people across the world in lockdown to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
The decision to postpone the quadrennial extravaganza was welcomed by sportspersons and federations officials alike.
Vinesh said, “Now is the time for all of us to be stronger than ever, keep fighting these extraordinary circumstances and believe with all our might that we will overcome this challenge.
“We need to summon all our reserves of determination, refocus, and work towrads our goals.”
The Indian wrestler added, “While there is more to this chapter, a new story is already being written, but we will overcome.
“We are all together in this, one world, one goal. This is that unique chance to do something for your family, your community, your country, and our world.”