Fast-forward to Rio 2016.
A sporting spectacle, as grand as this, is bound to have its fair share of victories and tragedies. One such tragedy unfolded day before yesterday when India’s Vinesh Phogat suffered a nasty blow to her knee during her 48kg women’s freestyle wrestling bout with the Chinese Sun Yanan. Vinesh was ahead by a point when this happened but as the world watched her writhe on the mat, she knew that there was no coming back.
As I was seeing all of this unfold on my live stream, there was something else that piqued my curiosity. How was her opponent expected to react to this? What happened next was beautiful although probably missed by most of the millions watching. There were no celebrations when the referee called Yanan to lift her hand and pronounce her winner – her face was a mosaic of pain and guilt. As the stretcher carrying Vinesh made their way out of the ring, Sun’s coach motioned for her to help the convoy. Without hesitation, she picked up a bag from one of the officials who was carrying the stretcher and walked an injured Vinesh out of the venue. That girl in the red tee you see there? In the third pic on the first row – that’s her.
To both the coach who cared to impart such often overlooked values to his cadet and the 23-year old wrestler, you have my deepest respect and admiration.