'Stop the constant criticism': Vinesh Phogat slams critics after making history at World Wrestling Championships
Vinesh Phogat, who won bronze at the 2022 World Wrestling Championships, faced a lot of flak for losing her opening bout against Mongolia’s Khulan Batkhuyag.
Star India wrestler Vinesh Phogat, on Sunday, slammed the “experts sitting at home” for their criticism and spoke about the hardships an athlete has to face.
Vinesh recently won bronze in 53kg in the 2022 World Championships in Belgrade, becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win two medals at the event. She clinched the bronze medal by beating Emma Jonna Malmgren of Sweden. The 28-year-old wrestler had previously won a bronze in the 2019 edition in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Vinesh, however, faced a lot of flak for losing her opening bout against Mongolia’s Khulan Batkhuyag. The Indian entered the repechage round after Batkhuyag made it to the final.
In her Twitter post, Vinesh wrote that athletes are not robots and questioned the constant criticism.
“Athletes are humans and while being an athlete is a huge part of who we are, it doesn’t mean we work like robots every time a tournament is announced. Not sure if this culture is in every country or this is just India where we have so many experts sitting at home,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Every individual, professional or not, has chased hardships, struggles and challenges through their journey. Difference is the world does not comment and criticise them thinking they are experts on those professionals and their careers. But we have many who consider themselves as experts on sports who think they know the efforts, the hardships and what goes into training an athlete.”
Phogat also asked why athletes have to answer to “experts sitting at home” and also questioned if fans from other countries also react in the same fashion.
“Why are we as athletes answerable to them about every detail when all athletes get back is comments on how they should train, what they should do instead of support and encouragement when times are tough. Is it very discouraging when people assume they can comment on when athletes should stop or end their career, when they should play and not play. A win always does not mean that an athlete has done anything extra extraordinary and a loss does not mean that the athlete has not tried during that game. Winning and losing is a part of every athlete’s journey and the athletes try hard each time,” Vinesh said.
“When we are criticised for not getting a medal every single time do these so called fans experts know what efforts, resources and preparation go into this process. And do they know what goes into the preparation of the athletes they compare us with? Do the supporters from the other countries also criticise their athletes in the same way and manner?”
I hope everyone will be more responsible about their words.. Focus on what your athletes are doing well! People need to have a better perspective and stop the constant criticism in Indian sports. 🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/C7CWCgODCH
— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) September 18, 2022
“It is very easy to comment on these things because for them it’s just one day of their life after watching a match, what they don’t realise is these things can seriously drag along and affect the athletes state, their mood especially in difficult times. Things are great with social media now connecting all fans and supporters but times were simpler when social media was not involved to spread these comments and negative criticism,” she added.
Despite losing the opening bout, triple Commonwealth Games champion, Vinesh, scripted an incredible comeback to beat Malmgren 8-0 in the bronze medal match. She added words of encouragement for her fellow athletes who have to face criticism constantly.
“It’s true that not everyone will understand your vision and dream, people will question your methods until they see it on the scoreboard. But as athletes, if we give up too early or lose courage too soon, we may never reach that turning point. Here’s to all my fellow athletes who have the courage to repeatedly put themselves through a difficult journey and show compassion towards their dream without fearing people. My dear athletes, we are all on the same page and have similar journeys. Hopefully, someday we will try to change this culture with our consistent efforts, courage and dedication,” she concluded.
The wrestlers will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period and return negative test before they are allowed to begin mat training.
In an embarrassment for India, ace female wrestler Vinesh Phogat was on Friday disqualified from the 1st World Olympic Qualifying event for being overweight on a day when other women grapplers also failed to book Rio Games berth.
Star wrestler Vinesh Phogat won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 2022 as she won all her three bouts in the women's 53kg category in Birmingham on Friday.