Wrestler Vinesh Phogat nominated for Laureus World Sporting Comeback Award
A career-threatening knee injury in the Rio Olympics saw a teary-eyed Vinesh Phogat being stretchered out of the ring but two years later, the Haryana wrestler bounced back with a gold each at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the Jakarta Asian Games besides a silver in the Asian Championships in Bishkek.
In a cricket-crazy country like India, very often such sporting achievements of non-cricketing athletes go unnoticed, but Vinesh, one of the gold medal prospects in Rio, continued to enjoy the attention of the fans despite being in the oblivion for a couple of years.
After recovery, Vinesh came back in 2018 with a bang winning three medals, and sounded her opponents a warning ahead of the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Her inspirational comeback feat was recently recognised when she became the first Indian to be nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award, a couple of days ago.
The 24-year-old was nominated in the 'Laureus World Sporting Comeback' category for the year 2019 and will be competing for the award with golf great Tiger Woods, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, American alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Manyu, and Dutch para-snowboarding star Bibian Mentel-Spee.
Reacting to the nomination, Vinesh in an interaction candidly admitted that she had not heard about the prestigious award before while adding that it was indeed a matter of pride to be nominated among legends like Woods.
"It's a matter of great pride for me to be nominated for such a prestigious award. Earlier, I had never heard of this award, but now that I have come to know of it, I feel very proud to be nominated among the all time greats," said Vinesh.
"It feels good to know that apart from our sporting achievements, fans are also concerned about our struggles while battling injuries and other off-field issues." She hoped that her nomination motivates many more Indian athletes to work hard.
"I hope this nomination serves as a motivation to other athletes to do their best," she said.
Meanwhile, football players Luka Modric and Kylian Mbappe have been nominated for the 'Laureus Sportsman of the Year' award along with tennis star Novak Djokovic, American basketball player LeBron James, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge.
The nominees for 'Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year' are American gymnast Simone Biles, Romanian tennis world no.1 Simona Halep, Wimbledon winner Angelique Kerber, Swiss triathlete Daniela Ryf, Czech snowboard Ester Ledecka and American alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin. - IANS