In what could potentially be a massive moment for sports in this country, Vinesh Phogat, the star wrestler from Haryana, became the first Indian to be nominated for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award.
The award was first established in 1999 by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and is supported by founding patrons Daimler, a German automobile giant, and Richemont, a Swiss luxury goods holding company.
Vinesh has been nominated under the ‘Laureus World Sporting Comeback’ category. Last year, Tennis legend Roger Federer won the award in this particular category.
She will compete with golfing legend 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 for the award, according to The Indian Express.
2018 was a phenomenal year for Vinesh. She won, among other things, the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, silver in the Asian Championships and the gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games.
During the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Vinesh was on course to bag a medal for India until a potentially career-ending knee injury took her out in the quarterfinals.
One member of her entourage even claimed that the injury was a ‘death sentence’ for her career.
However, Vinesh was in no mood to give up. Showing real character, she worked her back to fitness and won gold in the Commonwealth Games women’s 50 kg freestyle wrestling event.
Her Asian Games campaign began against Sun Yanan, the same opponent she faced in the 2016 Olympic Games quarterfinals. She won the final bout and secured the gold medal for India. What’s incredible is that Vinesh Phogat is just 24 years old. Nominated for the Padma Shri in 2018, she is one the favourites to secure a medal for India in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“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. Nominees for Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year are American gymnast, 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,” reports The Indian Express.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)