CHENNAI: A DAY after the Senior National Championship ends in Jalandhar on December 1, star wrestler Vinesh Phogat and her Hungarian coach Woller Akos will head to Bulgaria for high-altitude training.
The 25-year-old grappler will train at the Belmeken High Mountain Sports Complex located 2,050 metres above sea level between Rhodope Mountain and Rila Mountain in sub-zero temperatures.
“It’s more about power exercises for strengthening core and lower body. The day temperature might drop to zero degree celsius while it may be minus 5 to 6 degrees at night, but that is not relevant,” Akos told this daily from Kharkhoda in Sonepat, where he has been camping with the Haryana wrestler since mid-October. “The nationals will be organised from November 29 to December 1 where Vinesh will compete in 53kg weight category. On December 2, we’ll head to Bulgaria and stay there till 15.”
The complex also has a wrestling hall but Vinesh’s stint there will be all about physical exercises. “The two-week schedule is more about strengthening core. Apart from routine physical exercises, mountain hiking, running and weightlifting will be part of the schedule. It aims at improvement of overall physical condition and performance,” the coach added.
Vinesh is the lone Indian woman wrestler to have won an Olympic quota in the World Championships held in Kazakhstan in September. Besides her, India won three more quotas with Bajrang Punia (65kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Ravi Dahiya (57kg) booking a place each at the Tokyo Games.
After their stint in Bulgaria, the duo will return to the country. With the Olympics only nine months away, Vinesh will continue her training with the foreign coach. The venue, however, depends on the national camp for India women.
Yasar Dogu, Ranking Series and Asian Championships will be the priority for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist after her Bulgaria stint.
“Yasar Dogu dates may change as it’s too close to the Ranking Tournament scheduled in Italy. If that happens, Vinesh will skip Yasar Dogu in Istanbul, Turkey. She will then train in Ukraine from December 9 to 15 before competing in Ranking Series scheduled in Rome from January 15 to 18 as the event will give her ranking points ahead of Olympics.” The Yasar Dogu event is slated from January 9 to 12.
Vinesh switched to 53kg weight category early this year keeping the 2020 Games in mind. She is placed second behind world champion Pak Yong Mi of North Korea in the United World Wrestling (UWW) rankings. A surge in ranking will give her an easy draw in the upcoming events and even in the Games.
However, the coach said that they are not thinking beyond the Ranking Series and Asian Championships. “The next training chart will be prepared after the continental event. But yes, if she can improve her ranking, it will be good for her,” the coach signed off.