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"Be responsible with words" — Vinesh Phogat hits back on criticism for World C'ships show

"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," Vinesh Phogat wrote.

Vinesh Phogat

Vinesh Phogat (Source: Wrestling Federation of India)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 18 Sep 2022 3:29 PM GMT

Vinesh Phogat bagged the bronze medal in women's 53kg at the recently concluded 2022 World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. But, it was not before she lost her first round bout against a lower ranked wrestler from Mongolia and relying on the repechage route.

The 28-year-old had then faced immense criticism on social media for her failure to win the first round bout. Vinesh Phogat has now hit back at her critics with a long post.

"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," she wrote. "Not sure if this culture is in every country or this is just India where we have so many experts sitting at home."

The Haryana lass stated that India has a lot of experts sitting at home, who think they know it all.

"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," the post read.

The wrestler question why are the athletes answerable to such experts, when all they get in return are tips on how they should train and what they should do.

"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," Vinesh wrote.

"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," she added.

Vinesh further questioned if fans from other countries also act in similar manner and criticise their athletes.

"Do the supporters from the other countries also criticise their athletes in the same way and manner? It is very easy to comment on these things because for them it's just one day of their life," she wrote.

The two-time World Championships bronze medallist alleged that people do not understand the efforts and sacrifices athletes make, just by looking at the scoreboard at the end of a match.

"When people see the scoreboard what don't see are the efforts that go into the preparation, the sacrifices made for the simplest of achievements and the tremendous courage to do this over and over again in spite of the results and outcome," Vinesh wrote.

She capped off the post with a heartfelt note to fellow athletes who face the same thing on a daily basis.

"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."

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