Wrestler Pooja Dhanda has stated that while standing on the World Championship podium she dreamt of being on the Tokyo Olympics podium with a medal of a better colour around her neck. Dhanda recently won a bronze in 57 kg category at the Wrestling World Championship in Budapest earlier this year.
Pooja Dhanda became only the fourth wrestler in India to win a medal at the World Wrestling Championship when she bagged a bronze medal at the event held in October earlier this year. Dhanda revealed that she was lost in thoughts at the medal ceremony as she dreamt of winning a medal at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Thinking if she can win a medal after getting through such a tough draw here, she can definitely win in Tokyo too.
“When I was on the victory stand, I started to imagine myself doing the same thing at the 2020 Olympics with a medal of a better colour,” she told The Indian Express.
Indeed Dhanda was pitted against some of the best wrestlers as few of them were Olympic and World Championship medallists. But, Dhanda was ready for every fight as she showed throughout the tournament. She even fixed the chinks in her armour and worked on her leg defence which had proved to be a problem for her in the past.
“After the Asian Games, my leg defence was a weakness that had been exposed,” she said, “I lost most of my points because of that. So my preparation for the World Championship was mostly on countering leg attacks.”
The medal for her did not come easy as injuries had to be managed and tough decisions had to be taken on the path to reach there. She had to sit out of the game for two years because of an injury. She also had to decline the role of Babita Phogat in the superhit movie Dangal.
“I had an ACL injury and was recovering from the surgery. So it was a very big risk for my wrestling career,” she says. “I had spent 15 years of my life with no ambition of going into the movies. Wrestling is what I wanted to do. So for a field that I had never worked in, for a field that I had never worked hard for,
With the medal at the World Championship, Dhanda has proven herself as one of the better medal prospects for the country at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The Summer Olympics will also give the wrestler a chance to achieve a rare record of completing the three — medals at the Youth Olympics, World Championships and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“That’s the least I’m expecting from myself now,” she added.
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