CHENNAI: Back in March, Vinesh Phogat was training in Norway when she was asked to cut short her trip and return, as the situation was worsening due to Covid-19. Ever since her return, the ace wrestler has had mixed fortunes in the country. While she was chosen for Khel Ratna, the country's highest sporting honour, she tested positive for the virus a day ahead of the virtual ceremony. If this was not enough, she got infected again. The 53kg wrestler also made headlines for pulling out of the national camp.
After nine months of uncertainty, the only Indian woman wrestler to have qualified for the Tokyo Games so far will look to start afresh when she leaves for a 40-day overseas training camp. The trip has been sanctioned under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
The camp will take place from December 28 to January 24 at Vasas Sports Club in Budapest and from January 24 to February 5 at the Olympic Training Centre in Szczyrk in Poland. She will be accompanied by sparring partner Priyanka Phogat and physiotherapist Poornima Raman Ngomdir. Her personal Hungarian coach, Woller Akos, will join her in Budapest.
"She needs the exposure trip, especially with no competitions in the near future," Omprakash Dahiya, with whom she has been training in Haryana, told this daily. "There are some events lined up in Hungary and she may take part in a few," the coach added.
The total cost of this outing will be Rs 15.51 lakh. Akos planned the camp as it will give Vinesh an opportunity to spar with European wrestlers and improve technical and tactical aspects. "I need to know my level and getting to spar with good wrestlers will be helpful in assessing where I stand," the 26-year-old Vinesh was quoted as saying. Her last international appearance was in the Asian Championships in New Delhi in February where she won bronze.
Women's camp from Dec 29
National camp for women wrestlers will resume at SAI, Lucknow, on December 29. More than 30 wrestlers in 10 weight categories apart from seven in the support staff will be part of the camp, which will continue till March 31.